Art And Mindfulness
Art And Mindfulness
You’re finally home. Your shoulders feel tense and your mind is whirring with all the events of the day. From the conversations you’ve had, to the people you’ve seen. Wide-eyed, you sit quietly while the world blurs.
Thinking about the past – and the future – can distract you from the present. Forever worrying about what has been and what’s to come.
And for many of us, worrying like this can have a negative effect on our emotional wellbeing, making it all the more important to find new ways of helping us feel more positive and relaxed.
The art of mindfulness
Mindfulness has become more and more popular in recent years, and is an extremely effective way to relieve negative feelings such as anxiety and depression.
Many people find this meditative approach also helps to focus their mind, allowing them to worry less. So how can we be mindful?
Mindfulness is about being in the present and not letting your thoughts wander. To do this, you need to be in the moment – relaxed with a quiet mind, but with enough to focus on to help channel your thoughts.
Some people find concentrating on their breathing helps and can seem simple at first. However, for many, it can become a case of wrestling with your mind to make it focus on one thing. With just your breath to think about, it’s easy to get distracted and start mulling over the order of the day.
That’s where drawing comes in. Whether you’re a fully-fledged artist, novice or just love to doodle, drawing can be a great way to give your mind something creative to concentrate on, while letting the thoughts of the day settle.
Feeling the flow of the pencil, the stroke of a brush and the glide of a pen can be very therapeutic and really helps to quieten the white noise that can so often fill our brains, allowing your creative side to take control and sharpen your senses.
Drawing: where to start
Art is very personal and so there is no wrong or right way to do it. That’s the beauty of being creative – there are no rules and no limits. Drawing with pencils is a great way to start – especially if you’re beginner – as you can be as accurate or as impressionistic as you like, detailing, blending and highlighting as you go.
Painting can feel strange if you’re not used to it but it’s a very soft and calming way to work so can be very beneficial. Why not practise by painting large blocks of your favourite colours? That way you can concentrate on controlling each brush stroke so you can start to develop your own style.
Other tools such as graphite sticks, water colours, artist’s chalks and pastels are also great for adding colour, feeling and depth to your work.
5 drawing tips for beginners
The best thing about having a blank canvas is that you can create whatever you want. Whether you want to draw an object in front of you, scenery, people, shapes or something from your own imagination – it’s completely up to you.
What you draw is your own creation and it’s about enjoying the moment and exploring the possibilities. If you’re not sure where to start however, there are a few things which will help you develop your own artistic pace and style:
1) Find a quiet spot
Drawing takes concentration and having peace and quiet will not only help you think but it will also help you be mindful too. Trying to find inspiration for your creations in the middle of the kitchen isn’t going to work for many.
Find a quiet spot and a clear space where you won’t be disturbed. Somewhere near a source of natural light is always good – as long as it’s away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Struggling to find the right spot? Create your own artist’s corner with a Hartleys Wooden Drawing Board. It’s ideal for all whether you’re an experienced artist or just finding your feet.
2) Use lovely things
Artist’s tools can be expensive but you really notice the difference when you work with good quality materials. Thick, textured paper; smooth, wooden pencils; rich paints and luxurious colours – they all add to the experience. And having something you really want to use will also inspire you and influence what you decide to create.
3) Take your time
Drawing for mindfulness is very much about the journey rather than the destination. Think less about what you are going to have as a finished result and concentrate on the details – the colours, lines, textures, patterns and effects. Devote your time to each section and work for as little or as much time as you need to help you relax. If you find your rhythm and end up whiling away the hours, then all the better – it’s great relaxation!
4) Stay focused
Trying to process all your thoughts and letting your mind wander as you draw will make it more difficult to relax. To help calm your mind, stay focused on the page. Think about the colours and what it feels like to draw. Concentrate on each line and let your eyes follow your hand as it moves across the page. Hone in on the details and try to find new ways to bring each bit to life. And if you find your mind wandering, keep centring your thoughts back to your drawing and over time, this will help train your mind to stay on track.
5) Record how you feel
Make a note of how you feel both before and after each drawing session. Writing is brilliant for helping you focus your thoughts and pinpointing your emotions so you can start to find solutions. You might also start to find you are feeling more positive after drawing and practising being mindful. Seeing this progress will help encourage you to do it more often as a way of helping you to feel more relaxed and self-assured.
Feeling inspired? Why not read our other blogs on drawing, here.