Self Care during Difficult Days - an interview with Katy Welte

Posted by Alexandra Dehoff on

I've been thinking a lot about the things we do to take care of ourselves, what we do to honor our hearts and minds and souls, and how we decide on our daily rituals that give us peace and comfort. I thought I'd ask some of my best friends to tell me about what brings them peace and comfort. Today, I'm talking to my friend Katy Welte, an artist from Spokane, Washington. You can find her work at http://katywelte.com

[Content notes: discussion of body image, physical & mental health]

Ms. Andry: Hi Katy! Tell me about you. What things bring you joy? What things bring you peace?
Katy: Probably nothing brings me more joy and peace than having a paintbrush in my hand. That and spending time with my cats. I struggle with relaxing and being in the moment, so if it's raining and I can just take a moment to stand in the rain or listen to it pour outside while I'm cozy inside with some coffee, I can find a moment of peace. 

Painting by Katy Welte
Painting by Katy Welte

M: Tell me about your self-care routine. What rituals do you come back to again and again?

K: Face masks! I love a face mask. I also love freshly painted nails, or freshly cleaned nails. When I'm stressed and sad and tense, nothing helps as much as a hot bath or shower, shaving my legs, putting on lotion, and getting into comfy clothes.

M: How do you feel that self-care impacts your view of your body? Is it something you make a calendar date with yourself to do, or do you just fit it in where you can?

K: I try to do some self care on weekends and in the middle of the week also, as sort of a push to get through the rest of the week. I'm a big believe in self-care Wednesdays. I would say it has a positive impact on my body because it makes me physically feel better. When I'm clean and smooth and warm I feel more relaxed and peaceful. It also helps to do things for your physical self if you are struggling with loving or even just accepting your body because it's a nice reminder that your body deserves nice things.

M: How do you feel about your body? Physically, mentally, spiritually?

K: I struggle with accepting myself every day for sure. I don't always feel physically well and that's something I want to work on with exercise for it's own sake, not necessarily to achieve a certain physical ideal. I want to feel stronger and more limber than I do now. Mentally, I am able to recognize that being really fat is not a person failing and doesn't make me less deserving of happiness than anyone else. I recognize that my body moves me through the world and I try to respect it for that. I recently started making art using my nude self as a model and I find it has really, really helped with seeing myself in a more positive light. It's hard to make a painting I love of my naked body and turn around and hate my naked body. It's been very therapeutic. 

Painting by Katy Welte

M: Tell me what makes you feel proud of yourself.

K: My art for sure. Everything I make is unique to me, no one can make quite the same thing in quite the same way and that makes it feel very personal and special. When I graduated with my AFA it was the first time I felt like I had really finished something and accomplished a goal and it made me so proud. I also know that even though I fail at it at times, I make a conscious effort to be a good person and unfortunately not everyone can say that.

M: Tell me about your struggles. What are you working on?

K: Being healthier physically and mentally. I want to be as well as I can be while still recognizing that being well doesn't define my self worth. I'm also struggling with no tying my worth to my abilities as an artist. Basically I'm trying to remind myself every day that I am enough. I'm on a path of trying to love myself and be happy being alone with myself.

M: Tell me about someone you admire.

K: I admire Lee Krasner for being an amazing artist while putting up with Jackson Pollock's shit. I admire one of my art teachers for being an amazing teacher and painter while also being a parent to a toddler. I admire too many of my friends to name for being kind and loving and strong and for fighting so hard every day against their struggles. 

M: Do you have any mantras? Favorite songs, movies, dances, foods, that make you feel badass?

K: The song "You're Enough" by Sleeping at Last doesn't make me feel badass but it makes me feel like I am good and deserving of the things I want in the world. Now when I do want to feel badass, it's all about DJ Khaled's "All I Do Is Win". I LOVE THIS SONG. Gets me PUMPED. UP. Also "My Shot" from Hamilton, which always makes me feel like I can do anything and it's not too late. Oh ok, so this sounds weird, but there is a special feature on the Monsters University blu-ray that talks to a bunch of Pixar artists, and a lot of them were doing other things with their life before finding art and when I watched this for the first time, I got this overwhelming message that it's never too late, you're never too old to follow your dreams. The first time I watched that I was about to start art school for the first time, and it made me burst into tears. I remind myself of that feeling whenever I think it's too late to follow my dreams.
 

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