Drawing with Mindfulness

Mary Hill 7 years ago

Here we go again! Sometimes work seems to have a cyclical process. Sometimes a piece of work runs its course or runs out of steam. It seems uncertain where to go next. This is when I return to drawing. I recently completed a Mindfulness Training Course which gave me lots of insights to combine with my drawing practice. The skills of concentrating on a task and learning through a process are often things that many other artists do already. The mindfulness adds an opportunity to become more aware of the skills we have and enables us to use them to serve ourselves and our practice more effectively.

So how can mindfulness help our creative practice?

Mindfulness is about being fully here in the present moment. It is about developing awareness of the body and mind. This can help to slow our minds down. This in turn enables us to make physical space to focus on the task here and now. In this space there is no right and wrong only experience and the ability to notice our own experience. This can enable us to move from a judgemental mind to one that is curious, and asks questions- What if? Where? How? 

What is Mindful Drawing?

When we draw mindfully we bring awareness of our body/posture, thoughts and feelings to the process we are engaged with. This enables us to become aware of the feedback between the physical act of drawing and the creative mind.

Mindfulness training involves repeating meditations which helps to develop concentration and awareness. A drawing meditation combines mindfulness skills with drawing practice. An example of a practice follows. Allow about 10 minutes though can be longer if you wish.

A Mindful Drawing Practice

Before you start your practice you need to have all your materials ready in front of you so that you can stay in the practice and not have to go looking for materials. Its good to have a clear work area so there are not too many distractions. Chose some paper and something simple to draw with such as a pencil or pen.

Make your self comfortable.

Bring your awareness to your posture with your feet on the floor.

Be aware of how you are sitting balanced on your chair and your arms and shoulders relaxed.

Notice your breathing and how the breath comes and goes with out any effort.

When you are ready bring your attention to the materials in front of you noticing how your hands and arms can move effortlessly to pick up the pen and begin to draw.

This is an opportunity to trust in the wisdom of your body and mind.

Just draw whatever comes- there is no right and wrong. It is an opportunity to explore mark making, texture, imagination,observation-what ever is right for you.

When you come to the end of the drawing and put down your pencil bring your awareness back to your breath and the body and then open to the wider room.

This is the end of the practice.

This is something you can do every now and then when you have a moment or you can make it a regular practice. It is important to work in a way that suits you and the way you work as well as exploring new ideas and ways to work which may sustain you and your practice as an artist.