Healing Properties

Those who have driven down Hodges Circle in Mansfield have probably already seen the tall, colorful rooster that graces our cover. Its whimsical presence brightens the rural landscape as only art can, and I feel grateful for the creative soul who decided it needed to be there. 

I’ve been writing for this magazine since its inception, but I’m also an artist. In fact, my degree is in art, not journalism. I run a small face painting and paint party business called Mini Masterpieces with Kari, and I also teach art at His Master’s Voice, an arts-focused homeschooling program in McDonough. It’s difficult to say whether I find writing or art more enjoyable. I love every minute of it all.

If I had to choose a favorite activity, it would be turning self-proclaimed non-artists into bona fide creators. Nothing tops seeing that bulb of creativity light up, the relaxation as they slip into their right-brain creative zone and that spark of pride when they see what they’ve done. I firmly believe that the world needs more artists and more people with the precious audacity to make lovely things and share them. 

This world can be so dark, and it often feels darker by the day. I’m in the middle of walking through a midnight season with my dear sister, whose husband passed away suddenly just before Christmas. It has been absolutely heartbreaking to be unable to make this better for her, and I struggle to find ways to make her smile. We were together recently, and I brought supplies to make gem clusters for my face-painting customers. She joined me at the table, and for a few hours, she forgot about her new state of solitude. Her mind was blessedly paused from wills, bills and responsibility as she melted into making something beautiful with her hands. Then I placed her gems on a smiling young face two days later, compounding the joy.

That’s the healing power of art. It blesses both the creator and the recipient. Works of art are the twinkling stars sprinkled across the inky sky that distract us from our troubles. Even old art—like the big Mansfield rooster—can spread delight after rust freckles across it. Age doesn’t matter; art and artists are never too old to make the world better. 

I challenge you today to create something, no matter how small. Zen doodle on a piece of paper and give it to a friend. Wear the cherry red shirt instead of the boring black one, then smile and snap a selfie to share online. Sit down for 10 minutes and finger-paint with your kids. And if you don’t have a homeowners’ association, maybe build a giant metal rooster and plunk him in your front yard. Right by the road, where everyone will see. 

by Kari Apted

We would like to thank Sandra Hodges for allowing us to come to her house to take the picture for the 2024 summer cover of The NEWTON Community Magazine

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