Weaving Mindfulness into your Art Practice
Before practicing mindfulness, drawing felt a bit like using someone else’s hand to make marks.
My mindfulness practice has taught me to let judgmental thoughts pass like clouds in the sky.
The cloud visualization helps me acknowledge and filter thoughts. This gives me more space to focus when I'm drawing, painting, or writing.
Instead of ignoring inner criticism, I acknowledge it and sometimes reply to it. I'll even thank it. It's trying to protect me from some kind of make-believe outcome my brain created.
Thought: "When people see this drawing, you will be shamed for life and never get work again."
Me: "You're right. This is bad. Now I'll make it even uglier and pretend it's your face. Then maybe I'll rip it up!"
I also like to tell myself I’ll feed my ugly drawings to my pretend studio mate, who is a fictitious goat.
Humor keeps me playful in my practice, but a gentler approach can be just as helpful.
Thought: "This isn't going well. You may as well give up."
Me: "Okay, I know you mean well and don't want me to fail, but I'm going to make this work."
I like to practice being present when I’m warming up to draw. Treating the warmup as a mindfulness exercise has been a game changer. It helps me feel connected to my practice and reminds me that I’m there to cultivate joy. I’m not just there to draw a picture to generate likes.
The mindful awareness warmup has allowed me the freedom to enjoy the process, not the product, of my creativity.
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Here are the two cuties who inspired my stop-motion movie above.