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Hobbies To Consider For The New Year: Debra Reyburn Shares Her Watercolor Passion

MARY LOUISE KELLY, HOST:

Even if making resolutions isn't your thing, you might like to try something new in 2020. To that end, all this week, our listeners have been sharing the stories of the hobbies that make their lives better. Today - the case for picking up a paintbrush.

DEBRA REYBURN: My name is Debra Reyburn, and I'm from Boise, Idaho. My hobby is painting watercolors. In 2005, I was bit by a mosquito carrying West Nile virus and had encephalitis. I was bedridden for three months and almost died and had problems with speech and language. My left leg didn't work right. About 2 1/2 years into this, I realized I was never going to be able to work again, and so I started looking for something that would give my life a sense of meaning and purpose. And I turned to art.

(SOUNDBITE OF DAVID HOLMES' "HEY MAGGY")

REYBURN: When I do art, my brain becomes very still and quiet and the only thing that exists is that moment of creating with the paintbrush and the colors and the paper. And it's such a wonderful place to be because that's all there is. It's just that moment of creating. And with watercolors, there is ways in which you drop the paint onto a wet piece of paper and it just sort of spreads, and you can add another piece of paint to it, a different color, and that will spread. And you get some just beautiful combinations that you can't control, that just happen.

(SOUNDBITE OF DAVID HOLMES' "HEY MAGGY")

REYBURN: The most important thing, I think, is to have fun in the process of doing it because, for me, that's the place that I like to be, is in the process and not so attached to how it looks in the end.

(SOUNDBITE OF DAVID HOLMES' "HEY MAGGY")

REYBURN: I feel so grateful for the art that I'm able to do that I sign each painting with the Japanese symbol for mosquito because without that life-changing event, I wouldn't be doing the art that I am today.

(SOUNDBITE OF DAVID HOLMES' "HEY MAGGY") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.