Is your inner critic bothering you? One of the most common experiences people have shared during the 30 Day Mindful Drawing Challenge, has been the steadfast presence of what they often call their 'inner critic'. I know many of you notice this inner voice whilst you're drawing - and all of us encounter it at some point as we create, or when we have just finished creating something. Using the simple creative mindfulness approaches I share, lots of people have also been commenting that they're ALSO noticing moments when inner criticism is totally absent and how much they're enjoying the space this brings.
Mindful writing about mindful drawing. In this short, poem-like, piece of mindful writing, I've attempted to describe what mindful drawing means to me, and what my process is about. I'm pretty good with words, but trying to describe a non-verbal, and often non-dual experience with the duality of language, of object and subject is a difficult, though very enjoyable challenge, in itself. Perhaps that's why I got so fascinated with the fact that drawing is both a verb and a noun. Anyway, I thought I'd share it here to mark the half-way point of the January 2018 Mindful Drawing 30 Day Challenge, and would love to hear how you experience mindful drawing too... if you can find some words for it.
How to practice mindful drawing this month. The January Mindful Drawing Challenge has proved way more popular than I could have possibly imagined, with hundreds and hundreds of you practicing across two social media platforms. In order to make things as simple as possible (for you and for me!), this blog, brings all the links and advice you'll need together in one place.
Start your new year with a boost of mindfulness, creativity and community. You can't beat mindful drawing for calming the mind, relaxation, self-care and inner peace - which are all things we tend to need in BIG doses after the whirlwind of the holiday season. And if making resolutions to be more mindful, and more creative in 2018 are upper-most in your mind, then there's nothing like doing it with others to help you follow through and actually do it! Community around our creative and mindfulness practice is so very important for helping us to stick with it, stay encouraged, and enjoy it too.
Here's a little story for you... The other night I was working on my BIG red tangle drawing, for what I thought was the last time. After months of work I wasalmost finished, and I'd had very clear ideas in my head for some time about the last things I needed to do to finish. I could see it oh-so-clearly. So, confidently and boldy I DID it.
I've been listening to a lot of really amazing music recently - including pieces by the composer Somei Satoh. It's been there in the background as I've been creating many of my red thread drawings. So this month I thought I'd suggest a creative mindfulness with music meditation for you to try. Start by listening to my guided meditation - Drawing with the Breath, which is the first meditation on the resources page of my website here. Follow the instructions for becoming mindful of body and breath.
HOORAY! I'M TAKING OVER THE OCTOPUS BOOKS INSTAGRAM ON SEPTEMBER 1ST FOR A 1 DAY MINDFUL DRAWING CHALLENGE. I'll be posting a morning (8.05am), lunchtime (12pm) and evening (5.20pm) mindful drawing exercise from my Stop Look Breathe Create book on the Octopus Books Instagram Feed on Friday September 1st - and I'm encouraging you to join in and make it a day of peaceful, mindful #stoplookbreathecreate. (All times are UK/UTC+1).
This is a recording of a Live Facebook Stream to the Art of Mindfulness community to celebrate the launch of my new Stop Look Breathe Create book. For the drawing activity you will need:
1) A pen or pencil and paper 2) Some things to draw which have interesting textures and shapes. E.G. Shells, seedpods, stones, a hairbrush, cheese grater, or house-plant. This is a one hour creative mindfulness class: 15 minute introductory meditation; 10 minute talk about mindful creativity and the Stop Look Breathe Create creative mindfulness practice; 20 minutes of guided mindful drawing activities; 10 minutes Q and A.
Come and join me LIVE on the Art of Mindfulness Facebook page on Sunday 16th July. I'd love the chance to spend an evening with you to welcome new people to the Art of Mindfulness community and celebrate the launch of the new Stop Look Breathe Create book. During the one hour mindul art gathering on Sunday 16th July - I'll be live video streaming as we join together for some Stop Look Breathe mindfulness meditation, do a mindful drawing exercise from the new Stop Look Breathe Create book, and finish with a Q and A, where you can ask your questions about creative mindfulness and I'll answer them.
“Am I doing it right” is a familiar inner voice for me. So of course this has come up for me before and Wendy Ann's advice to me during the Challenge helped me to laugh even more at the ridiculousness of the inner critic, the “Oh so Unwise but Ever Trying One". She said something like “that is the inner critic and it has as much value and significance as if it said, you are a purple elephant.” A picture of a purple elephant is quite figural for me at the moment!
The Stop Look Breathe Create book will be on bookshelves soon
And to celebrate my new creative mindfulness book – I’m launching a new FREE three week creative mindfulness course you can do online and at home. It starts on the 5th of June and I’m inviting the Art of Mindfulness Community to do it TOGETHER between the 5th and 25th of June (2017) as a follow up to our Mindful Drawing Month. Here’s how it works…
Lynne Furrer from Denver, Colorado joined mindful drawing month. Here's her story...
Ever Wondered What A 30 Day Challenge Is Like? These types of challenges can be intimidating! It’s sounds like a lot of work, and to be honest, it can be (more on that below). I was not looking for busywork, but when Wendy Ann made the challenge of Mindful Drawing Month, I felt it was something I needed to do. Why? Because I’m an artist, but I suck at drawing. Tons of people love to draw, so I’m in awe of them; I needed to find out why they love it and why it’s important as an artist to take pencil in hand and draw.
Myra from Taumarunui, New Zealand joined Mindful Drawing Month, here's what she has to say...
I undertook two methods of drawing for this project. The first being Blind Contour Drawing. Each day I chose an aspect of my garden and during the month extended this to surrounding landscapes. The second was making marks whilst following the breath which I call Rhythms of the Breath.
The Blind Contour drawings, aside from a lovely record of my garden, have helped me develop a looser style of drawing and a keener ability to see and appreciate intricacies in the object being drawn. These drawings and continued practice of Blind Contour drawing will provide great material for future pieces of artwork.
Over on the Art of Mindfulness Facebook page – people have been posting the mindful drawings they’ve made in response to the guided meditations I share – and we’ve all recently decided that more mindful drawing and more sharing of our creative mindfulness practice would be a very good thing.
So April 2017 is officially – MINDFUL DRAWING MONTH. And I do hope you’ll join us. The idea is very simple. Here it is in 4 easy steps:
Some of the #blindcontour drawings I've made in the last month immediately after meditating. I've decided to do another month of mindfully exploring mental and emotional states in relation to my experience of being embodied. As always this is about process not end results, about seeing, breathing, connecting with the moment - and enjoying myself enormously by just playing
On the first day of June, I made an enso. You can read more about that here. After a few days of loving them, I decided to make an enso a day for a whole month. A few days after that, I invited other people to join in on social media. Since then the project’s gone global and I’ve decided to extend it for another month. (More about that here.)
But beyond all of this, it’s just been me, living, breathing, creating day to day, and discovering more and more about the magic of this ancient meditative symbol as time went by. Enso, I have discovered, are a gateway and a threshold, they are the point where the empty, luminous, awake nature of reality takes form. They are completeness and wholeness and the peace that brings. They are a point in time and space, utterly unique and utterly impermanent.
Drawing ourselves, our faces, our bodies too, can be a transformative way of coming into a different relationship with our physical form. We are in the habit of looking at ourselves so harshly. We gaze in the mirror and often see only the bits we don’t like, that need fixing, or shoring up, or holding in, or combing over. Really, by the time we’ve finished looking, we’ve obliterated ourselves in a flood of thinking thinking thinking about our bodies that actually has nothing to do with what’s really there, and is the very opposite of loving-kindness or self-compassion.