“Whether you succeed or not is irrelevant, there is no such thing. Making your unknown known is the important thing.” Georgia O’Keeffe
There is an extraordinary number of inspiring books, internet sites and YouTube videos on technique, along with an evergrowing range of medium. Attaining access to excellent teachers has never been easier. Art has always been and continues to be an absorbing passion for people of all ages, from hobbyist to professional, bringing great satisfaction and often resulting in the exhibition and sale of finished works.
Sometimes, in the quest to be a good artist, tasteful execution and technical expertise can be given priority over simplicity and spontaneity, and the content may lack a personal connection. It’s interesting to note that over recent years there has also been growing interest in Outsider Art, Folk and Naïve Art more relevant to the artist – art with a story; and meditative arts – art with a personal or spiritual source.
Art with Mindfulness is a form of meditative art. It makes the activity the point of focus – increased awareness of being present, fully experiencing the process without judgment or concern about the outcome. Within the process of making art, the artist is contemplative and savors each sensation.
If an individual has a certain level of skill in making art, a state of Flow may also occur, Flow has many of the characteristics of Mindfulness, reducing stress, enhancing wellbeing. It also heightens creativity. Making beautiful art is not frowned upon, just not the goal.
Regular practice of mindfulness puts the brain in a relaxed alpha or theta pattern. The relaxed awareness of the slower brainwave pattern can heighten creativity and draw on subconscious themes resulting in authenticity in self expression, insight and revelation. This process can be achieved alone but the effects will be heightened if it’s in a group with a compassionate sharing of the experience after the activity.
Positive Psychology, the science of achieving optimum happiness, has found that principles that support fulfillment include relationships where a person is valued and able to be authentic, self development, utilizing strengths and activities that increase positive aspects of life, decrease the negative.
Increased awareness of the artist and direct expression of experience is part of the creative process of Art with Mindfulness, sometimes at the expense of refined technique. At the same time, it is a process that practices many of the principles shown to increase resilience and happiness itself.