In this article, I will tackle up how to combine art and relationships in an effective manner. Most artists usually wonder how to have a healthy relationship with their loved ones while living out their true passion. At times, self-love is also overlooked due to the demands of everyday living. However, this shouldn't be the case. We must take care of ourselves first and foremost, then impart this to our families and respective careers. This is a very detailed guide that talks about the importance of having unique Valentine's Date Ideas, and how to incorporate and practice a balanced lifestyle with your other half on this special day. Read on!
The True Purpose Of Valentine's DayEvery February 14, candies, chocolates, flowers, and gifts are being exchanged between loved ones all around the world in celebration of Valentine's Day. This day is a perfect opportunity to remind our loved ones of how much we love and appreciate them. Aside from gift-giving, couples usually go on romantic Valentine's dates while families go on trips or special events.
In this age of fast-paced media and disposable smartphones, maintaining healthy relationships with our loved ones can get challenging. Somehow, the modernization of society has led us to lose touch with our surroundings. It has caused one of the pillars of our lives - our personal connections with people - to suffer. These days, social media is now the go-to platform when you want to know the latest milestone in your friend's life. Conversation through text messages triumphs over person-to-person communication. We are always rushing towards the future, and before we know it - the best years of our lives have passed by right before our eyes. We forget that at the end of the day, what remains with us are the meaningful and healthy relationships we had and the genuine connections that we made with people.
Valentine's Day is a special occasion that was indeed created to put this practice of appreciation into actual action.
Handwritten letter of Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife, written in 1415 while he was in prison
The importance of Valentine's Day
During the Middle Ages, it was believed in France and England that February 14 was the beginning of birds' mating season. This added to the idea that the middle of Valentine's Day should be a day for romance!
Here's a trivia: The oldest known valentine still in existence today was a poem written in 1415 by Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London, following his capture at the Battle of Agincourt. (The greeting is now part of the manuscript collection of the British Library in London, England). Several years later, it is believed that King Henry V hired a writer named John Lydgate to compose a valentine note to Catherine of Valois!
Now, more than ever - it is important to look back at our traditions. In our quest for building and maintaining healthy relationships, giving importance to special occasions like Valentine's Day by starting to come up with Valentine's date ideas can help us move forward toward a better and progressive life with our loved ones. Getting into the habit of spending time with family and friends not only increases intimacy but also leads to strong and healthy relationships.
This also applies to anyone we would like to build a bond with or old friends and acquaintances whose presence we want back in our lives. When we actively set aside time dedicated to them, we are making mindful choices and decisions that will have a lasting impact on our lives. This is a way of building strong foundations and wonderful memories that we can always look back on with smiles on our faces.
Let us also take this opportunity to listen to our inner voice, and attend to our personal needs. With the hustle and bustle of life, we not only lose time for our families and friends; we also tend to forget taking care of ourselves. Spending time doing hobbies and activities that give us joy increases the healthy hormones inside of us. It encourages a healthier mental state and better emotional well-being. When we listen to our personal needs, we take care of the most important person in our life: our own self. Valentine's Day is a good chance to start putting this habit into practice!"Did you know that the oldest known valentine still in existence today was a poem written in 1415 by Charles, Duke of Orleans, to his wife while he was imprisoned?"
Art in humans
Since time immemorial, art has been deeply embedded in our culture. In fact, art-making may very well be one of the first instincts we have ever developed as humans. In this article where I discussed everything about the color red - from its meaning across cultures to its practical usage, we stated an example of one of the oldest forms of art found by historians. It is a painting of a bison executed using a red ochre pigment, painted on the cave walls of Altamira, Spain. The earliest paintings were applied during the Upper Paleolithic, dating back to around 36,000 years ago.
Art is a huge part of the human race. Though it differs from our cultures diversify, it shapes our ideas as people. It provides us with a deeper understanding of our emotions and is a reflection of the society we live in. Art speaks in a universal language that is meant to touch the heart of any viewer.
Bison Painting - UNESCO World Heritage, Cave of Altamira, Spain
"Neurodevelopment guru Bruce Perry notes that arts and play are part of every culture to some extent, are familiar to all and are associated with neurologically normalizing aspects of life. Dissanayake also observes that human survival is related to the arts. For example, groups who make things special via the arts have more unifying interactions and ceremonies. In earlier times in human history, these groups were able to survive longer on the whole than those who did not engage in using arts in this way." - Cathy Malchiodi, Art Therapist
Many people fail to realise how important art is and how it impacts their daily life! The media we watch, the content we consume on our smartphones, the music we play in the car, and the latest movie we watched -- All these things are forms of art. We use it, but we don't realize how much we rely on it. When we let ourselves inside the different worlds of art, our mental health and well-being are positively affected.
Art's role in healthy relationships
Here are some (out of countless!) ways on how art affects our own personal well-being, as well as our interpersonal relationships -- in a positive way:
1. ART ENGAGES OUR SENSES
Through basic science, we learned that we use our five senses to see, feel, smell, taste and hear. Doing different art-related activities allow us to make good use of all five of them. Since our bodies are built to move, locomotion and engagement lead to health-giving benefits. To state a few examples of art-related activities:
Sight - Painting
Touch - Sculpting
Smell - Perfume-making
Taste - Cooking
Hear - Playing music
Sharing the process of creation with someone else, especially with someone we love, creates a ripple effect of positivity in us. It allows us to become more mindful of the things that we do. This is one of the pillars of ZenART -- Mindfulness in art. Art therapy research supports the theory that engaging our senses through the arts has a powerful effect on our body, mind, and perception -- leading to healthy relationships in the long run.
2. ART ENHANCES COMMUNITY
Art needs to be engaging. The process of creating it, the experience of viewing it, and the feeling you get from these instances are very important. When we allow others to experience our art, we give them a chance to look through our inner selves. Openness without the need for words stimulates camaraderie, too. Having people together with us in the form of friends, family, and acquaintances is a modern psychological concept of social support. It is a widely accepted key factor for resilience When we act in concert to share a cultural experience through art, it is often to gather together to celebrate or commemorate life and society's important issues.
Do you have a network of artist friends that you usually interact with? Having a support system in your art-making can make tremendous positive changes in the way you create your works. You build a healthy relationship with each other, and they inspire you and motivate you to become better. In the same way, you can also encourage them in their craft.
If you want to expand your artist network and make new friends who are interested in the same things as you, join Zen ART's artist community here and find like-minded people who are in the pursuit of living better!
Always remember: Art is a universal language that transcends all cultures and dialects. When we speak in the language of art, we reach out to more people, we share more love, build healthy relationships, and bring more joy to the world around us.
3. ART IS THERAPEUTIC
As we create art and build healthy relationships, we simultaneously affect our personal health and state of mind. Research finds that making art together in community art programs, engaging in dance and music groups, etc. are important factors in psychological and physical recovery. It underlines the importance of art in our personal well-being, as a form of non-verbal communication. It is not only understandable to all but also has the potential to help individuals of all ages in healing.
One of Zen ART's featured artists, Anna Koliadych of @dearannart believes that art-making is therapeutic for us. To quote, "Of course, art and creativity have healing abilities. Painting helps me get to know my inner-self and express my feelings more. This blessing is, in fact, available to everyone. Since I started painting, I began seeing the world differently - everything around me - colours, shapes, light. Each and every detail around me became exciting and vital. For me, this is the most potent source of inspiration. A walk in the forest or even just the park can be a fantastic journey. The longer I paint, the more mindful I become." You can read the rest of her interview article here!
Featuring one of @dearannart's watercolour works using ZenART Supplies Turner Collection brushes
According to art therapists, "art therapy, facilitated by a professional art therapist, effectively supports personal and relational treatment goals" - AATA, 2017.
Creative Valentine's Date Ideas for Couples
Given the importance of art in our lives and in having healthy relationships, we now understand how creating works of art with someone that we love can add to our development of lives. When we practice this, it will add up to the long-term health benefits of art in our lives. If you want to know more on how to delegate your time wisely so you can allocate more time for your loved ones and for yourself, create a Vision Board that will remind you of your life priorities.
With that, we have provided you with a rundown on a few unique and creative Valentine's date ideas to do on February 14th! If you haven't thought of something special to do just yet, prepare to indulge yourself in these creative activities around London and New York. Surely, you will find new interesting things about your partner in the process of art-making. How exciting!
If you don't live in one of those cities, simply do a little Google search of the upcoming events for Valentine's day around your area, and surely you will find tons of interesting and creative activities as well!
1. Take up painting lessons
You can finally take out those paints and brushes, and get back to painting again! This way, you will be able to interact with each other while sharing your techniques on creating a pretty composition through your own style. Finishing a piece of artwork by yourself is very satisfying to the mind and soul. Sharing it with a loved one? Well, that's something else!
London: Romantic Couples Painting for Valentine's Day at Liberte Concept - Studio 249
Their statement: "Whether it's a first date or the 30th date, sometimes dinner or drinks just won't cut it. So we are offering something uniquely different to a typical night out. Spend a romantic evening creating a very personal piece of artwork with your date or partner by your side at our modern painting studio." - Check it out here.
NYC: Valentine's Day Couples Painting Class at The Art Studio NY
Their statement: "Uncork your creative expression with your sweetie in this romantic NYC Valentine's Day date to be remembered! Enjoy unlimited inspiration as you connect as a couple, re-spark your inner-artists, and create a be-you-tiful painting to hang in your home. During just one date night!" - Check it out here.
Different brushes from the ZenART Supplies Renoir Collection. Semi-stiff badger & 30% synthetic mix brushes for distinctive strokes & blending, stiff chungking hog bristles for base coats & texture. The natural fibres are long-lasting, easy to clean and hold their shape.
On that day, it doesn't hurt to be extra prepared with good quality materials! Take your Valentine's date idea to the next level by bringing the perfect brushes made especially for your favourite medium. The Renoir Collection, a 14-piece professional brush set by Zen ART Supplies and the Filbert Artists' Choice (6-piece brush set) can be used for both oil and acrylic paints. On the other hand, if you're looking into working with watercolours, you may choose from either the Turner Collection -- also a 14-piece squirrel mix professional watercolour brush set, or the Black Tulip Collection, an essential 6-piece collection.
2. Watch classic art films
Take your movie night up a few notches higher and immerse yourself in a creative film experience! In London, enjoy a romantic movie night in the pop-up cinema to be held at Rivoli Ballroom -- the only 1950's classic ballroom left standing in London. What's even more exciting is that you will watch the most epic love story of all: Romeo and Juliet! In New York, the Angelika Film Center in Soho is infamous for showing both local and international independent films. Have a laid-back romantic night and appreciate one-of-a-kind films with your loved one. How unique is this Valentine's date idea?
London: Pop-up cinema at Rivoli Ballroom
Their statement: "Feeling loved up yet! join us to get in the lovey-dovey mood for Valentine's day, where we will be screening rom-com classics as part of our valentines pop up. Showing 90's version of Romeo & Juliet directed by Baz Luhrmann. All set in an iconic London gem, The Rivoli Ballroom, which has featured in many films itself such as Tom Hardy's Legend, The Avengers Age of Ultron, The Muppets, Brad Pitt's Spy Game. The Rivoli is steeped in history and original features. Doors open 8 pm, We will have two bars open serving British Ale, Ciders, Draft beer, Wines, as well as serving Hot Dogs, popcorn, and Ice cream, and cocktails not to forget them!". - Check it out here.
The beautiful Rivoli Ballroom in London
NYC: Q&A with a film director/writer at Angelika Film Center
Their statement: "Movie dates are a tried-and-true classic and a great way to end the day, but in New York, you can give yours an interesting twist! At the Angelika Film Center in Soho, you can see a variety of independent and foreign films, plus occasional Q&As with directors and film stars! The Angelika is also a quaint caf'e. If you still have room after dinner, why not skip the popcorn and grab a macaron or a croissant to enjoy with your movie?" - Check them out here.
3. Enjoy a romantic museum night
Though it can be intimidating for some, museums are actually a place of comfort and knowledge. You can trace back your history through paintings, and observe how we have evolved as a people through the use of symbolism in contemporary art. Share opinions, trivia, and learn a thing or two on a romantic night of art-viewing and interactive tours in your favourite museums. Meet people and engage in mindful discussions throughout the night!
London: Film Location Tour at Somerset House
Their statement: "From The Duchess to X-Men: find out more about film locations at Somerset House. Visit places that have at one time been turned into sinister Victorian backstreets, an asylum and a grand palace courtyard. Enjoy this exclusive tour before taking away an indulgent Valentines treat of your own." - Check them out here.
NYC: Exclusive tour around MoMa/ Valentine Tours 2020
Their statement: "Join us for a special MoMA tradition, celebrating Valentine's Day in one of New York's most romantic settings. Upon arrival, enjoy a candlelit reception featuring wine and savory bites. Before embarking on a private group tour, you and your valentine will receive a sweet treat-all after the Museum has closed to the public. Led by a dynamic, engaging guide, you'll encounter old loves and new favorites in our collection, including a visit to admire Kerstin Br"atsch's installation Fossil Psychics for Christa, commissioned on the occasion of MoMA's 2019 reopening. You'll be sure to impress your valentine with this unforgettable evening at MoMA." - Check them out here.
4. Listen to love poems at a poetry reading
Poetry is one of the finest forms of art. Like painting and music, writing is an art language in itself that conveys the artist's desired message in a unique manner. It gives the artist the freedom to speak on his own accord and encourages communication through the written word -- one key to a healthy relationship. When done well, good poetry can take you places and open up worlds in your mind. Enjoy a night listening to spoken poetry as the writers read their works in front of an audience. They know best on how to get their message across, so it will surely be a worthwhile experience!
London: Love Poetry of London Walk from St. Paul's Cathedral
Their statement: "Feel the beat of your life and the rhythms of London's changing history. Enjoy the fine architecture and discover a new way of looking at an old Roman city. Let lavish love poetry roll out through the centuries of London's history around this glorious and breathtaking dome and give you a fresh place to stand. Readout your own lines or let the work of others capture you." - Check them out here.
NYC: THERAPY Poetry Sessions at the Nuyorican Poets Cafe
Their statement: "Join us Valentine's Day for another exciting evening of poetry and community brought to you by Nuyorican Poetry Slam Champion, Jaime Lee Lewis. The perfect way to spend Valentine's Day, this event features artists whose works celebrate the shared human experience, and explore the beauty of emotions, relationships, identity, and love." - Check them out here.
5. Learn a new skill with a cooking + crafting session
As I've stated above, one of the benefits of art-making is that it makes good use of our five senses. In an interesting cooking and crafting session, you and your loved one will get in touch with your creative side through the use of sight, smell, and touch. Experimentation is also a good chance to get to know your loved ones more, and this is an essential key in building healthy relationships. You don't necessarily have to be an expert in the kitchen to join this Valentine's date idea! By joining these classes, you will be taught how to make artisan chocolates and some very special mouthwatering dishes.
Around London: Gorgeous Chocolate! Valentine's Day Cooking Class at Cook With Janie, Pinehill
Their statement: "Chocolate, everyone's favorite ingredient! And with February being the month of Valentine's Day, chocolate is definitely on the menu. Join Janie Turner, chocolate expert and author of the recipe book "I Love Chocolate I Love Thermomix", as she teaches you how to create delicious chocolate snacks and desserts. Some are even healthy!" - Check them out here: here.
NYC: My Cooking Party: Valentine's Day Cooking
Their statement: "Come and celebrate the warm & fuzzy feeling of love in our beautiful New York City culinary loft. We will drink, snack, mingle, chop, sear, and flamb'e our way into your hearts...whilst filling your bellies! Do your partner a favor and avoid the sub-par restaurant experience this February 14th. Instead, participate in our fun & engaging extravaganza. As always at MCP, it's more than a romantic couple cooking class, it's a Valentine's Day Party!" - Check them out here.
6. Practice some yoga and meditation
Yoga for couples is not a mere exercise and meditation activity. When you merge your practice with another's, you fall into sync with that person. Everything in you finds a balance and move in rhythm with each other. It challenges your balance, strength, and flexibility while requiring trust from the other. Some of the most intimate, fulfilling, and healthy relationships are found through practicing yoga with your loved one. It creates unity, builds intimacy, and encourages happiness.
London: Valentine's Day Partner Yoga at theLodge.space
Their statement: "Starting out as the park keepers lodge for the neighboring park, we've taken the space on a journey to become a home for health, mindfulness and wellbeing. We offer a calm beautiful environment to escape from the noise of London. Join us for our couple partner yoga session and massage + a three-course dinner with music." - Check them out here.
NYC: Valentine's Vinyasa at the Mill
Their statement: "Join us this Valentine's Day for a fun-filled Partner Yoga class. A great way to celebrate this day of connection by partnering up to practice yoga. In this workshop we will learn to support each other in poses aligning our bodies, creating balance and becoming present. No experience necessary; this workshop is for newbies and experienced yogis alike." - Check them out here.
Valentine's Date Ideas for Family and Friends
If you just want to stay at home with your family and loved ones, or just relax and take some time for yourself, don't fret! Going outside is not necessary in order to enjoy your Valentine's day celebration. You might want to stay away from the traffic, or just relax and unwind with your loved ones at home. In any case, having a creative day is still possible! Here are some very fun Valentine's date ideas for activities you can do as a couple, as a family, or as a group of friends.
1. Bake heart-shaped cupcakes and cookies
2. Create Valentine's Day greeting cards
3. Leave love notes all over the house
4. Surprise your family with home-cooked meal and flowers
5. Have a Valentine movie marathon!
6. Craft paper flowers
7. Visit a nursing home
8. Enjoy an Afternoon tea
9. Play a Valentine-themed crossword game
10. Make a list of things to be grateful for.
A reminder of love
The last point is something that we ought to do on a regular basis. Reminding ourselves that we should practice self-love and be grateful for our life; being with our loved ones is a way of honouring them and appreciating their presence, leading to healthy relationships ahead. This practice is also included in the Visual Board making that I talked about before.
As we continue to journey a fast-paced life, moments of quick decisions and fragmented thoughts, art allows every moment memorable. Understanding our emotions can help us heal, grow and improve ourselves. Increasing our self-awareness through art can lead to more success both personally and professionally.
In creating and experiencing art together with our loved ones, we allow them to see a deeper, more special part of us that's not usually seen on the surface. We share a private special place with them, and we allow ourselves to communicate through our creative language. This leads us to see the world in a better light, have a more joyful disposition, and create healthy relationships. We go into unison and connect with each other as we indulge in the experience of creating our own masterpieces. This truly is the most fulfilling part of the creation of art.
Art can make a community more beautiful. It also makes the places we go to and spend time in more interesting. Through art, we gain a better understanding of cultures, history and tradition; as well as help the people in the present weave their own today.
Today, and every other day, let us remember to practice the sharing of love through the use of art!
What about you? How are you going to celebrate your Valentine's Date? Which of the creative valentine's date ideas mentioned above is your favourite one? Do you think these activities may be useful in maintaining a healthy relationship? If you have any comments or suggestions at all, let me know in the comments section below! I am all ears!
- MEET THE AUTHOR -
Ardak Kassenova is a London based contemporary artist, co-founder and creative director of ZenART Supplies. Her visual style-contemporary impressionism-share similar aesthetic qualities with those by the French Impressionists. After 20 years of a successful corporate career, becoming a mother to two wonderful girls, and with the continuous development of her practice by taking private lessons from the best artists she could find; Ardak decided it's time to align her life with her true passion, Art. Driven by this passion and her corporate leadership background, she co-founded ZenART.
"My heart and soul were always with Art, and since my childhood as long as I remember myself, I was dreaming to be an artist. I was painting after work, when I had time, and teaching myself through the books, videos, visiting art galleries and museums. I've been very curious about different techniques and styles, and therefore accumulated knowledge and experience on a variety of mediums."