Updated: May 16
I have discovered a lovely mindfulness exercise you can do in your spare time. The NHS advocate for Mindfulness as a method of helping create good mental health. I have always suffered with bouts of depression and anxious days. As an artist I do find the process of painting a wonderful therapeutic exercise. Well, it is if you're doing it for fun and just for yourself. Painting a picture for another person or as part of a collection of work is like any other job. It is hard work and creates its own problems along the way. So, I need to find ways to slow down, breath, not think and create without worry. This is where the exercise comes into play.
You will need -
Paper (any type will do)
Paints (any that you have to hand), or crayons, chalks, pastels etc.
Tools (brushes, old store cards, spatulas, palette knives etc. anything that will put shapes and marks onto the paper)
Music or ambient sound (I like the sound of birds)
Put on a timer for 10 minutes.
Pick a favourite colour.
Paint or draw with the colour slowly and in any shapes that you like. This is not about being good at art, this is about being you.
Pay attention to the muscles in your hands, arms, and shoulder.
Are you tense?
If so, take a moment to loosen up and then continue.
Pick another colour and repeat but this time listen to the music/ambient sound. Follow the pattern the sounds make. Are they sharp, soft, rhythmic, slow, fast? Whatever they are doing, copy with the marks you make on the page.
Pick another colour.
Paint/draw around the colours you have already used. Try to avoid mixing or hiding the colours already on the page.
If you have time left, repeat one of the above methods and keep going until the alarm bell goes off.
Take a deep breath and then walk away. Yes, walk away. Don't look at what you have done. It’s not important at this stage. The only thing to do is wash paints off brushes/tools/hands.
It is important to understand that this is a Mindfulness exercise and is not intended to create anything brilliant. Instead, it’s a way to feel better, to have a moment to yourself. However, when a little time has gone by you can look at what you've created. Is there something amongst the colours and shapes that you like. Why do you like them? Could it be used in any other work in the future? And if there is nothing you like, then why? Why do you find the colours hideous or boring?
It’s a wonderful exercise and I recommend it to anyone who just wants a moment of stress-free time.
Hope this helps you.