Mindfulness and the Artist

Artists often feel stuck and wonder, “Is it a time pressure sort-of-stuck? Or, it is a self doubt/confidence sort-of-stuck? Is this an emotional sticking point, or just a not-feeling-creative and-don’t-know-why sort of stuck feeling?”

Mindfulness can help. It takes you into the moment where you can cultivate  your awareness and in doing so, get the creative energy flowing again.

Let’s face it our lives are busier than ever. We have tens of thousands of stimuli each day to carve through, sort, and process. Due to information overwhelm we have multiple email accounts to process and delete, probably a few voice mail accounts to sort, multiple texts, and the actual communications in real conversations of all kinds, from the dinner table (hope you have one) to the grocery check out.

Then if we aren’t too exhausted we find ourselves having a  creative staring contest with a piece of paper, fabric or canvas to see who wins. How do you settle that score?

I’ve asked myself this many times as I tried in the past, to cultivate my artwork with my office work life. Now that I can focus on the business of art and creating anew in this transitional time frame, call it the “layoff phase” of my life, I can push back on my feelings of “stuck-ness” or resistance and dive in. Most of the time.

First and foremost, what is this buzzword, mindfulness?

Mindfulness is being aware in the moment without judgement. It often pairs well with an intention, such as: ‘I want to create a painting of my garden in summer.’

When you are focused on an object you are drawing, taking in the shape of the leaf or flower, the negative spaces between stems, that is a place of  awareness in the moment. Without judging each line and without the hesitation brought by self-doubt, that is mindfulness.

Here are a few tips of cultivating Mindfulness:

  • Sit for a few minutes each day and breathe, being aware of your breath and as thoughts interrupt this process, acknowledge them as ‘thoughts’ and let them go, floating away with the next in-breath
  • Give yourself  contemplation time or “think time” each day to process all the different thoughts that come from a busy life with much stimuli
  • Be kind to yourself. When you find yourself being judgmental with yourself or others, acknowledge that you caught it and just say to yourself, “There’s no need to judge.”
  • Take the deepened awareness into your creative time to be inspired on a whole new level, maybe in a new color palette or medium
  • Keep a journal of your development and the insights you have along the way and see what new inspiration you gain from the experience

You may feel more connected to the world around you when you cultivate and experience more mindful practices of awareness in the moment without judgement.