Learning to paint as mediation can be a freeing and cathartic experience. It will leave you feeling rested and connected to the eternal and is great for stress relief and anxiety. For me, Meditation and painting go hand in hand. One is the other.
I have always turned to art to get in touch with my inner being and to express what I was often too shy to express in words. Painting allowed me to feel where I was spiritually and center myself in a way that nothing else could. It was both an escape and an expression.
I approach painting today exactly as I did as a child. It is about finding an emotion and exploring it, finding a place of centered and calm introspection. It doesn’t matter whether I am painting a landscape or an abstract painting, they are the same. The experience of doing the painting and the feelings one experiences through the process, is what is important. You can do this too.
Rothko knew how to meditate and paint. He knew that they were the same thing. It was for that reason that so many people break down and weep in front of his work. They were able to experience the same emotions that Rothko experienced while making the painting.
So, how does one paint and meditate?
First, get you painting area set up with your materials, so that you are ready to go. It does not matter what you paint. If you want to work abstractly, making nonrepresentational marks, that is a good place to start. On the other hand, if you feel you need to paint images of this world, go for it. Just try not to judge yourself as you are painting. Take your ego out of the equation, even if just for a little while.
Second, take some deep breaths before you paint.
Third, look at your canvas or paper and think about how you feel now. Are you feeling anxious, sad, calm, happy, etc. Just observe that feeling and then go back to focusing on your breath. At this point, I usually think of nature and tie that image of nature to my feeling. For example, a cloudy day might be a somber mood, or a blowing tree might be a turbulent mood. Whatever comes to mind is correct and okay. You are just checking in with your feelings here.
Fourth, think of a couple of colors and how they reflect your mood. Those colors don’t need to make any logical sense as to why they reflect your mood, they are whatever they are. Close your eyes and feel those colors.
Finally, begin to paint. Just get some colors, lines, or shapes down and see where one element leads to another. Let the painting grow while still holding on to your initial feelings. Don’t forget to breath. You may be inclined to paint an oval or a square, or maybe that blowing tree. Just allow it to happen. Don’t focus on the details or whether the painting is good or bad, just paint and breath.
If you follow this method, the painting that you create will be truthful. It will be about where you were at in that moment. Maybe later you might want to refine it a little but try not to do to much. Also, if you revise later, remember to begin the steps of the meditation over again. Get centered and breath before each painting session.
That is how you mediate and paint. I hope you enjoyed this article and wish your happiness and peace as you realize your creative potential. After all, being an aritst is about taking what you are experiencing internally and expressing it visually.
The benefits of meditation are well documented and include:
reduced anxiety, reduced stress, improved focus, improved memory, helps fight addictions, improved sleep, as well as many other benefits.
to learn more, you can read a great article from Healthline. I am also a big fan of Deepak Chopra and his Chopra Center. Both links are below.
Author: Bruce Black
Welcome to Life Reimagined! I am a professional artist and long time art teacher, Over twenty-two years teaching and still going! I have painted all my life and love to inspire others to reach their creative potential. I hope this blog brings you inspiration!