Art can be wonderfully relaxing. Even non-artists can feel great benefits from getting in the flow and using art as meditation
When I try to sit still and meditate, time goes very slowly. There are gaps in my mind chatter, but they never last very long. My busy brain resists the meditation every step of the way. But I have noticed that when I am in the flow, I forget my worries and find some peace.
In my search for ways to tap into this flow state, I have discovered art as meditation. I am by no means an accomplished artist. My attempts at drawing and painting have always been disappointing. So, I had given up on art as a way of being creative. However, it occurred to me that if I do art for art’s sake, rather than for the end result, I can have the benefits of meditation in a way that suits my busy personality.
I have discovered three simple, inexpensive ways to get started with art as meditation.
Colouring in has become a big trend in art recently. As a result, there are dozens of beautiful colouring books available, designed specifically for adults, in a variety of themes. This may not seem the most creative pursuit, but you have to choose the design, whether to use pens, pencils or paints and what colours to use. It is also a great meditation practice because it focuses the mind beautifully as you concentrate on the shapes, lines and colours rather than the mind chatter going on in your head. There are lots of colouring books available and hundreds of websites that offer free printable colouring sheets.
Collage provides a great creative outlet for those of us who are not confident in our drawing or painting abilities. This art form allows for creativity in choosing pictures, designs, colours, textures and layout. Collages can also support creative visualisations. A ‘goals’ or ‘dreams’ collage can be created and put in a prominent position to remind us each day of our aspirations and direction. Visual reminders like this help us to achieve our goals by bypassing the word-orientated, analytical left brain and connecting us with our more creative and intuitive right brain.
The key to beginning an art practice is to keep things simple. Trying to do too much, too soon, can knock our confidence. Just as when we learnt to read we began with simple words and short sentences, beginning with art can be helped by starting with small, simple studies. I love the book How to Draw a Tree (see resources) because it is easy to create pleasing results. When looking for resources to start your art journey, consider children’s books as they often provide simple, rewarding activities that ensure great results from the word go.
- 20 Ways to Draw a Tree and 44 other nifty things from nature by Eloise Renouf
- Everyone can Draw: Step by step instructions for artists by Barrington Barber
- Journal Revolution: Rise up and create by Linda Woods and Karen Dinino
- Colour me Calm: 100 Coloring templates for Meditation and Relaxation by Lucy Mucklow and Angela Porter