Long before I started meditating I would get lost in making art. I realize now that creating art has a similar effect on me as mindfulness meditation does and it might for you too.
Making Art as a Meditation
I used to pop a sketch pad, couple of pencils and an eraser into a bag and head for a park that was within walking distance. When I got there I would doodle whatever was in front of me (grass, trees etc.) or draw random lines to see what they looked like. I seldom kept what I drew and it didn’t matter because what valuable was that for a few minutes everything I felt was wrong with the world just disappeared. Better yet, when I stopped drawing I often had gained enough “distance” from my problems that they didn’t seem so huge.
Prepare Ahead of Time
Plan your tools and destination ahead of time so when the creative urge hits you can just grab your stuff and go.
- Put ALL your usual supplies in one box. In that box put a bag that has the bare ESSENTIALS you need for your creations. This will become your grab + go art supply kit.
- Pen/pencil and paper grab + go kit
- A sketchpad, or several sheets of paper and a clipboard (so you have a solid surface to draw on).
- 1 very soft (for dark lines) pencil or charcoal.
- 1 hard pencil (for light sharp lines).
- You could include a small selection of coloured pencils if you have them.
- A pen.
- An eraser.
- Watercolour grab + go kit
- A small watercolour pallet. If you don’t have a pallet, use an old muffin pan or pie plate, something just big enough to mix colours in. Include a cover of some sort to keep dust and bugs out.
- 3 tubes of watercolour in the primary colours (one each of yellow, red and blue). If you are just experimenting and want to save money, use a child’s watercolour box. You know the kind, they are inexpensive and usually have around 10 colour disks and a single brush.
- No more than 3 brushes. Watercolour brushes should have soft bristles. (Brushes used for oil painting are too hard and can rip through wet paper).
- A small container for cleaning brushes. If you don’t know if there will be a water supply where you are going make sure to grab a small bottle of water too.
- An absorbent rag.
- Watercolour paper. A watercolour sketchpad that is sealed on all 4 edges is expensive but it’s great because you can paint right on the pad without preparing the paper first. If you want to save money buy an inexpensive watercolour pad from a large office supply or art supply store and “stretch”one or two sheets of paper ahead of time to put in your grab + go kit. Regular paper pills and ripples too much, so make sure you use paper that says it can take watercolour. Click here for instructions on how to “stretch” paper.
- Find a good place.
- Ahead of time decide on at least one good place you can go to do your artwork. It can be anywhere. In your home it could be a back yard, a porch, maybe the basement. Perhaps the only interruption free place you can think of is your own bedroom, that’s just fine. The important thing is to be able play without interruption because it allows you to “get lost in” the process of drawing or painting.
Try This Art Escape For Yourself
- Grab your art kit and head to the spot you decided on.
- When you get there take a minute or two to put out your art supplies and get comfortable.
- If you are on a strict timeline take some sort of timer with you, so you can forget about time and just enjoy the creative process.
- Remind yourself it does NOT have to look like anything! What ends up on the paper does not matter, it’s not like you have to show it to anyone 🙂 . This is about letting yourself become so involved with what you are doing that it becomes your complete focus for a few minutes.
- People are attracted to different aspects of artwork and here are two of several different approaches you could take for your art escape.
- Lines + Contours – Draw a line you like and then another line in relation to the first line, and so on. The lines can be dark or light, long or short, wavy or straight, just play with lines. If a line reminds you of something you can choose to draw what it is, or continue playing with random lines. We are talking about doodling in the best sense of the word.
- Colours – pick one and lay down a random spot or splash or block of it on the paper. Add another colour, (or mix two together and see what you get). Just play with the colours, making choices by what feels right to you.
- When you feel you have played long enough stop.
- Take a minute to look at what is on the paper. Does anything come to mind? (If I was in a bad mood the lines would start out very dark and jagged but usually transitioned into more flowing drawing before I quit. Just notice if anything comes up for you.
- If you don’t like what you drew throw it out, if you like it keep it.
- There are lots of different ways you can us art as a meditation. I might come back to this topic in the future it was fun writing about it.
Experiment and Enjoy!
To your health!