(Note: 5/27/15: I have changed my site name to www.mindfulartstudio.com in order to separate my art therapy practice from my online art business and to avoid any confusion about what services I am providing. Mindful Art Studio and its blog will now focus solely on creativity, art tutorials, art journaling, mindfulness, and related topics. It is not art therapy.)
Hello Creative, Authentic You:
I’ve been holding onto a secret for the last few months, and I’m so excited to finally be able to share it: I’ve found a new home for our lovely community. Welcome to the Mindful Art Therapy Studio! To use a term from one of my favorite creative authors, SARK, I hope you’ll stay a while and have an “inspiration sandwich” while you’re here!
I sought out a new name because I want it to be very clear what this community stands for – learning to live centered, inspired, and creative lives. I think Mindful Art Therapy Studio does that. Do you?
Mindfulness and Art
Through writing this blog, I’ve realized just how hungry people are for creativity and mindfulness in their lives. We want to slow down, pay attention, make meaning, and feel inspired. Whether you consider yourself “creative” or not, and I would argue that everyone is, if you don’t have that spark of inspiration and creativity somewhere in your life, my bet is that you are feeling flat, down, anxious, or alone. I believe very strongly that for many people, art therapy and art are two very powerful medicines.
I was rereading one of the books that drove me to explore the mindful, spiritual, and healing aspects of art, The Artist’s Way. Author Julia Cameron says, “The quality of life is in proportion, always, to the capacity for delight. The capacity for delight is the gift of paying attention.” It’s so true.
So much of what delights me requires my full attention – listening to my kids as they recount each new adventure, taking in the way water droplets perch gently on a tulip petal, choosing the right moment to make a suggestion to a client who is on the brink of change, or running unencumbered on the first warm spring day, hearing the birds, and feeling the movement of my breath.
That’s the level of connection we crave. And yet we make ourselves so busy all the time. Mindfulness requires conscious effort.
A Mindfulness Exercise:
Art and mindfulness are so intimately connected. Seeing with attention is practicing mindfulness. Whether you are truly seeing and drawing something for the first time, or “seeing” your feelings appear on the page, it’s an act of mindfulness. I think often of my first drawing teacher, who told me that I didn’t need to learn to draw, I needed to learn to see.
Try this exercise:
Pick an object that you see everyday – a chair, a stick, a bowl. Set a timer for 2 minutes. Now look at the object as though you have no idea what it is – like you’ve never seen one of those thingies in your life. I invite you to engage your curiosity. Look at colors, shapes, textures, and light. What do you notice? What were you missing every other time you looked at it?
What we normally see when we look at something is just a brief sketch. We think we know what things look like, but do we really?
A Mindful Drawing Exercise:
Could you try drawing your object now? Let go of expectations that it will look a certain way or be “accurate,” this is a mindfulness exercise. Your pencil is a miniature ant walking across the edges and contours of your object, ever so slowly. What does your ant go? Whenever I do this, I find so much more detail and beauty both in the object, and in my wobbly drawing, than I ever expected.
“Attention is an act of connection” – Julia Cameron
We so deeply want to feel connected, and it’s is a powerful anecdote against hopelessness, desperation, and suffering.
What You Can Expect from Mindful Art Studio
Having the opportunity to share creative self-care techniques and information with people across the globe is a blessing for me. It’s part of my creative and artistic practice, and it makes my life meaningful. Thank you for being here!
My goal is to reach you, move you, and inspire you to live a more creative life, to feel happier and less anxious, and to make choices demonstrate how much you truly value yourself. You have so much to offer.
I want you to show up in this community, take in what you can, and give back by sharing your insights (just like Sara did last week.) Let’s take on this creative journey called life together.
I am humbled by your presence, your wisdom, and your creativity, and I’m excited about what’s ahead in the rest of 2015.
Art journaling has been, and will continue to be one of the key ways that I help people feed their creative soul. You can also expect more online art classes and e-books on a range of artistic techniques.
Creative Self-Care and Coping Strategies for Anxiety and Depression
Fear gets in the way of creativity and joy. We will continue to dive deeper into ways of getting fear and anxiety to step aside, go away, or transform. We will also continue to explore a range of coping tools to manage anxiety, stress, and depression.
This quote speaks so loudly to me about the habit of worry. And like any other habit, we can replace it with a different one with a bigger reward.
I consider it a privilege to be an art therapist and to help more people understand and experience its power.
If you haven’t looked around recently, here’s a sampling of some of the best things Mindful Art Therapy Studio has to offer right now:
– Check out the Free Art Tutorials page for tons of mindful, creative, and nature based art techniques
-Listen to some guided visualizations to help relieve stress and anxiety
– Learn about managing stress and anxiety with art,
– Connect with the community on the Creative Self-Care Facebook group for extra guidance and resources
– Listen to the podcast where I talk about How Art Therapy Works.
Mindful Art Studio’s Housewarming Gifts to You
To help celebrate our new “home,” I’d like to offer you some housewarming gifts.
Each person who comments below has a chance to win this art journal. Once I know who the lucky, randomly chosen winner is, I’ll get a bit more information and personalize it for you before I send it off. You have until Friday at 9 am to comment.
2. Art Journaling Class Sale!
For a limited time, I am making Art Journaling 101 Online available for just $19!
Remember Comment to Win Your Art Journal!