The saying goes as follows, “Stop and smell the roses.” But who has the time anymore?

As a student, the overwhelming stress of grades and extracurriculars is often back-breaking. School has a way of making one think that it is the single most important thing in the world. Take the image of a small child riding a bike and replace the green, natural environment with a dark, enclosed classroom. Big difference right?

Forced to carry gigantic textbooks everywhere they go, students no longer have the energy to go outside. As they grow older, the books get bigger and the pressure gets heavier. Muscles tensed up, eyes strained from long concentrated stares from the computer screen, students are aging much faster than they should be.

Even when told to go out into nature, the stress from school is still circulating in the back of their mind. Stoping to “smell the roses” is not enough anymore.

One must find the most intriguing rose, steal it, and observe it. Good art, in my opinion, is defined on how well you see something. Don’t just look at the rose, observe it. Notice each line and how it curves, how it points.

Take a pencil and recreate these wondrous lines. Concentrate, yet be free to make your own artistic decision. For the first time, you are in control. Let your muscles and your mind relax and let your eyes direct what you want to do. Soon you will begin to notice tiny, little details that have never brought awareness to you before. These observations will awaken your consciousness of the world around you.

Next, color. In everything you create, you have a choice. You may choose to paint the same exact color the rose appears in the natural world. Or you can choose to see something else. You can focus on how the rose makes you feel rather than what it really is.

Once you become absorbed with art, there is nothing that can hurt you. You have created your own world. That is what the phrase “stop and smell the roses” means to me.

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