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How I Found My Muse: A Glimpse Into My Artistic Journey Over the Years

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Mass Amherst chapter.

Whenever anybody would ask me what my hobbies were in the past, I would look at them and say “I don’t know” or “I don’t have any.” My schedule was always packed with school, sports, and extracurricular activities. The little amount of time I did have for myself, I would spend watching TV or on my phone (which myself and my parents weren’t crazy about). That was until I discovered my love of painting.

For as long as I remember, I’ve loved making things and tapping into my creative side. My mom or dad would take me to Michael’s to get craft supplies and I would find a way to use them all up. The one thing I consistently found myself returning to was painting.

In elementary and middle school during art class, we made all kinds of things using all sorts of different materials. I loved art class, and would tell people that it was my favorite subject. Something about art was just so therapeutic for me, and I also found it to be very rewarding. A lot of the time in school, I would finish an essay or project and feel great in the moment. Relieved it was done, I would never think about it again. With art, it was different. I could make something and want to look at it, and I could display it in my house, or give it to a friend, sometimes my parents would even stick it on our fridge! It was cool to see a piece of myself, something I had spent time and effort on, being shared with others, and have them appreciate it too.

As I grew older, I got busier and didn’t have as much time to dedicate to creating things or paintings. I had school, sports, and a job. I was spending time with friends and family, so art took a back seat during this period of my life. I didn’t have a “creative outlet” per se, especially since art was not required anymore once I got to high school. During my sophomore year of high school is when I would say things changed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

I was bored out of my mind, which was to be expected. With no school, no sports, and no extracurricular activities, I had plenty of time to do nothing, as did everyone else. I would spend my days taking walks outside, socially distancing during hangouts with my friends, and trying to find things to do to pass the time. I would bake, play with my dog, and I would paint. We had a bunch of blank canvases in my basement from years ago when my brother and I would attempt to make art (though looking back, I would hardly call it that). It felt great to be able to express myself creatively again. The only problem was that I wasn’t feeling super inspired, as there wasn’t much for me to see or do since we were confined to our homes. 

I saw videos of people online recreating famous paintings, so I tried that, but it wasn’t my thing. I would paint people and animals, but I didn’t like that either. I thought about things I found beautiful, like flowers or sunsets, and tried to replicate those. That’s when I started to get somewhere. Over the years I’ve made dozens of paintings, of all kinds, but I’ve found that the ones I’m most proud of and the ones I enjoyed making the most were typically landscapes, particularly of beaches, cities, and picturesque scenes taken from nature.

During the times I couldn’t go out into the world and find inspiration in person, I took to Pinterest and my camera roll. I found myself painting things and places that made me happy or that I had positive memories associated with. I would paint almost every day during the initial lockdown phase, and it gave me something to look forward to and embrace during such a dark and difficult time in the world.

Painting has helped me in so many ways, too many to even count. One of my favorite things about painting is that it keeps me away from my phone and technology. I could spend an entire day making one painting, not even having the urge to look at my phone or turn on the TV. It has helped me with attention to detail, creativity, and patience, and overall it is easy for me to do. It doesn’t require a lot of strenuous labor or brain power, it’s something I can just do because I want to! I’m especially thankful for painting as it has saved me and my friends a lot of money on wall decor over the years. Nonetheless, it has made me appreciate life and nature, and just how beautiful it can be.

Art is so important to me and many others, and it deserves to be cherished and talked about forever. I’m so lucky to have found something I love to do that is so easily accessible for me. I hope to never stop making art of all kinds, and that as time continues to pass, that art doesn’t take the backseat in my life ever again.

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Kelly Moussa

U Mass Amherst '26

Kelly Moussa is a sophomore at UMass Amherst majoring in Communication, with minors in Film Studies and Business. She is super excited to be writing for Her Campus, and in her free time she enjoys painting, working out, traveling, and discovering new places to eat.