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  • Eileen M. O'Brien

Remember when we were kids?

"Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up." Pablo Picasso

What do you remember from your childhood? I remember creating art (and playing school -- something tells me kids don't do that any more!). I always liked drawing and coloring and cutting things up, and I was lucky enough to take some classes at the Beverly Arts Center on the south side of Chicago that really spurred my creativity. I still took some classes in high school, but as I grew older, other things -- notions about what were the right classes to take, getting a work study job, paying the bills -- pushed that artistic part of me aside. Art started to come back in my life once I had kids, as I encouraged them to draw or paint. One day, we even put on our berets and painted out in Timber Branch creek, pretending we were Impressionist painters on the Seine! Then, in what I'm calling my (hopefully) mid-life crisis, I got more serious about art and started taking watercolor classes at the Art League (the school affiliated with the amazing Torpedo Factory Arts Center) and at No Va Community College here in Alexandria. After that, I took a really interesting Mosaic and meditation course at a local arts center... and ever since, I have been taking classes or workshops or studying and learning from friends and fellow artists!

A while back, I got the chance to audit an art therapy class at George Washington University (they let alumni audit classes for a nominal fee) and it made me realize how truly therapeutic creating art can be. Believe me, smashing plates for my mosaics does wonders for relieving stress! And when I went through chemo last year and had many sleepless nights, painting and drawing with my caran d'ache (watercolor crayons) helped me relax enough that I could at last fall asleep or conversely, still feel rejuvenated enough to start the day at a somewhat normal time. So if you're in the neighborhood and would like to de-stress sometime, let me know. There are always plates to smash and papers to draw or paint on! Thanks for visiting my website and have a great day, Eileen

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