Why Making Art is the New Meditation

I came across this article published in the Washington Times whilst researching for my latest blog and it captured exactly what I wanted to say so I’ve decided to post it. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Art as Meditation

This article is republished from our content partner  Fulfillment Daily: Daily Science-Backed News for a Happier Life, founded by Stanford University psychologist Emma Seppala, who is also Associate Director of the Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education at Stanford’s School of Medicine.

 

Many of us have heard about the benefits of meditation, but sometimes find it hard to do.  Fewer of us know about the profound benefits of artistic expression. Creating art, however, is another way to access a meditative state of mind and the profound healing it brings. 

“Art is a guarantee to sanity,” said Louise Bourgeois, a French-American artist who died in 2010 at the age of 98. She even went on to add, “…This is the most important thing I have said.” For Bourgeois, art — making art— was a tool for coping with overwhelming emotion. She says she remembers making small sculptures out of bread crumbs at the dinner table when she was a little girl – as a way of dealing with her dominating father. Art was more than an escape – it kept her sane.

Art therapy has a healing effect for a variety of ailments, including depression, trauma and illness. and is effective across age, gender or ethnicity. In a recent study of cancer patients, an art therapy intervention — in conjunction with conventional treatments like chemotherapy and radiation — not only diminished symptoms typically associated with cancer such as pain, fatigue and anxiety, but also enhanced life expectancy. The study, its authors said, was based on the belief that “the creative process involved in the making of art is healing and life-enhancing. It is used to help patients, or their families, increase awareness of self, cope with symptoms, and adapt to stressful and traumatic experiences.” 

[Five ways to thrive in an uncertain world]

Art is not only healing for individuals suffering from severe illness. Here are four reasons why creative activity is such a potent recipe for psychological well-being:

  1. Art is a vehicle for meditation and self-connection

Most of us can understand that art provides an escape to a sometimes harsh reality, but where does art’s healing potential come from? It impacts the state of our minds: Enjoying emotional stability is largely about taking responsibility for how we feel.

Research has shown the power of meditation and the science behind it. One of the reasons it is so powerful is that it fosters acceptance. Creating art is a type of meditation, an  active training of the mind that increase awareness and emphasizes acceptance of feelings and thoughts without judgment and relaxation of body and mind.

Art, like meditation, allows us to create space between our often negative, anxious thoughts and connect with our true selves – as opposed to with the fleeting or false sense of identity we sometimes have when we are caught up in our thoughts and emotions. Eckhart Tolle, spiritual teacher, writes: “Identification with thoughts and the emotions that go with those thoughts creates a false mind-made sense of self, conditioned by the past… This false self is never happy or fulfilled for long. Its normal state is one of unease, fear, insufficiency, and non-fulfillment.” Creating art is about reaching a state of consciousness and breaking free from the constant debilitating chatter of the mind.

 

  1. 2Art provides a feeling of flow and freedom

Similarly to meditation, art can help us tap into a deeper and more quiet part of ourselves. We enter into a state of flow and present-moment awareness. “All true artists, whether they know it or not, create from a place of no-mind, from inner stillness,” Tolle writes. Artists experience that creative activity has the potential to tap into a space of true consciousness of being, void of interpretation. In this space, there can be a sense of having no physical parameters; no body, or form to separate one from the other. 

  1. Art allows for true self-expression

The process of making art overrides the need for verbal communication. Creativity is its own language and enables humans to connect with one another — and themselves — on a non-verbal level. In therapy it can be an effective way of saying the unspeakable as is shown through the use of creative therapies with children. This also explains how we can be moved to the core when looking at a work of art, or even listening to music, without necessarily knowing the specifics about its origin. Art exists within its own non-verbal parameter and thus frees us up for unadulterated self-expression.

  1. Art helps us become steady and centered

As a plus, it is interesting to note that Bourgeois, when asked to comment on her extensive body of work spanning her entire lifetime, says what impresses her most  “is how constant [I] have been.” Perhaps we need to redefine what we consider to be a storybook happy ending. Happiness may be less a matter of experiencing sharp highs (often followed by deep lows), and more a matter of nurturing a space that provides stability and a constant connection to our true selves.

 

 

 

How to Change Your Mindset In Just 3 Hours

During my last exhibition I was asked by several people if I would do workshops to demonstrate how I achieve the effects that I do and so I started with just a one-off with the view that it would end there but everyone loved it so much they asked me to continue with follow up classes.

It has been a revelation seeing the journey people embark on during the workshop as painting really is an all-consuming process. One’s focus on colour, shape and content is so intent that it becomes a meditation within itself and all cares of the outside world are forgotten. Because of this, the creative process of art making is said to improve and enhance the physical, mental and emotional well being of all people taking up this wonderful hobby.

Through creating art it is possible to:

• redirect ones thoughts
• increase awareness of self and others
• better cope with stress
• better cope with traumatic experiences
• enhance cognitive abilities
• improve memory
• enjoy the sheer pleasure of creativity
• achieve self-fulfillment and self-confidence
• ease depression
• cope better with grief

It is also possible to ease the emotional effects of illness through art making. Research in hospitals has discovered that participants in art programs have better vitals and less complications sleeping.

Research has also shown that art classes have a therapeutic effect on retired people’s well being. Participants who regularly take art classes, when interviewed said they felt that painting gave them a sense of satisfaction and achievement whilst filling their many free hours. It also boosted confidence, productivity and offered an opportunity for inclusion within a group of other interested people in an uplifting environment.

At the end of each class it’s a wonderful affirmation seeing the smiles and looks of amazement on the participants faces. Beginners are delighted at what they have achieved and I get as much inspiration, pleasure and enjoyment passing on these techniques in my Perth Artist Workshops as I do in creating my own paintings. I feel very motivated and fulfilled at the end of each workshop.

Painting is indeed food for the soul.

How To Paint Without The Fear That You’ll Fail

You may have been told whilst at school that you’re just never going to be an artist as you have no obvious drawing skills, are not obsessed with art in your every waking moment and not naturally talented. You believed it as this judgment was coming from authority figures and therefore it must be correct.

I hear this all too often in my art workshops from people who have waited years to give painting a go because they were afraid of failure and believed they couldn’t do it even though they really wanted to.

This makes me so sad because it simply isn’t true. I try to reach out to as many interested people as possible because I can guarantee that you don’t need to be able to draw or paint a photo image of a bowl of fruit in order to paint a stunning original.

Failure is only a word that human beings use to judge a given situation. Instead of fearing failure, we should learn that failures, mistakes and errors are the way we learn and grow. Many of the world’s greatest successes have learned how to fail their way to success. Some of the more famous are:

  • Vincent Van Gogh.  During his lifetime Van Gogh sold only one painting to a friend and only for a very small amount of money. While Van Gogh was never a success during his life he persisted on, sometimes starving to complete over 800 known works. Today they bring in hundreds of millions of dollars each.
  • Charles Schultz.  The Peanuts comic strip has had enduring fame, yet this cartoonist had every cartoon he submitted rejected by his high school yearbook staff. Even after high school, Schultz didn’t have it easy, applying and being rejected for a position working with Walt Disney.
  • Monet.  Today Monet’s work sells for millions of dollars and hangs in some of the most prestigious institutions in the world. Yet during his own time his art was mocked and rejected by the artistic elite. Monet kept at his impressionist style, which caught on and in many ways was a starting point for some major changes to art that ushered in the modern era.

The message is; feel the fear and do it anyway because you will be amazed at the rewards you will reap. It’s deeply rewarding and fulfilling to spend a few hours away from the hustle and bustle of our busy lives, focussing on expressing and creating our own unique paintings.

Perth Artist Workshops Step By Step


So you still think you can’t paint?

  1. Allow me to show you a technique where it’s impossible to make a mistake.
  2. All materials are supplied including five canvases for you to experiment on.
  3. Maximum class size is limited to five so each participant receives personalised tuition.
  4. I will take you through the process, step by step to make the journey an easy one.
  5. A stress free, creative and uplifting morning

A Success Story

I have many success stories about the people coming along but there’s one in particular that stands out. It was the first time this gentleman had booked for a workshop and when he arrived, he looked nervous and restless, way out of his comfort zone.

As I explained the process to the group he just moved away, looking at my paintings and was quite distracted. Through the demonstration process he wasn’t joining in with the group and so I left him to take his time and adjust to his surroundings.

Slowly he selected the paints in preparation of beginning his first painting. It was actually quite fascinating to watch. He didn’t follow the exact format, which is fine, I welcome freedom to experiment, and he became fully immersed in the project. I would touch base with him as I moved around assisting the group and give tips to him as best he’d allow.

By the end of the workshop after the clean up when we were all debriefing about the morning he rejoined the class and quietly explained that he suffered from clinical depression and the morning class was the first three hours respite he’d had from his thoughts in a long time. He was calmer, more centred and even smiled.

I felt really happy for him and deeply grateful that my workshop was the catalyst for the lift in his spirits. He came for three further sessions and now continues on at home.


 

There are just three easy steps to actually begin the wonderful journey of creating your own art at my workshop. All materials are supplied including 5 canvases to experiment on so it’s simply a matter of booking and attending Perth Artist Workshops in my home studio.

Perth Artist Workshops Overcoming Fear

Teaching art to future artists in a stress free welcoming environment.

This technique makes it impossible to make a mistake so you really can relax and enjoy the process.

A very rewarding, uplifting and fulfilling journey.

  • For the dates of my upcoming workshops: Click the link workshops.
  • To book: Please leave your email address on my contact page.
  • For a regular newsletter please leave your email address.

The Dream

Perth Artist Workshops The Dream

 

More Than Just Painting

Jackie Peach Perth Artist Workshops

It’s so much more than just painting…….

It all began with making the dream a reality. Finding a group who were also beginning their journey with a teacher who encouraged us to discover our own unique creativity and in hindsight the cards all fell perfectly into place. Not only did I develop my own style but now I’m also passing on what I’ve discovered to other budding artists.

I get as much pleasure and enjoyment teaching these techniques as I do creating my own paintings and I feel very motivated and inspired at the end of each workshop. It’s wonderful watching the reactions of people just starting out. There’s quite a magical process takes places as the paints mix and merge which brings such delight and in some cases its almost a relief realising that with this particular method its impossible to make a mistake.

It really is a consuming process. One’s focus on the canvas and colour becomes a meditation within itself and all cares of the outside world are forgotten. Because of this, the creative process of art making is said to improve and enhance the physical, mental and emotional well being of individuals of all ages. It assists with coping with stress, depression, anxiety, traumatic experiences, improves memory and allows one great feelings of self-fulfillment.

People can escape the emotional effects of illness through art making. Research in hospitals has found that participants in art programs have better vitals and less complications sleeping. Research has also shown that art classes have a therapeutic effect on retired people’s well being. Participants who regularly take art classes when interviewed after art class participation said they felt that painting gave them a sense of satisfaction and achievement with their many free hours. It also boosted confidence, productivity and offered an opportunity for discussion and inclusion in a group of other interested people in a positive and uplifting environment.

There are many pluses with taking up the hobby of painting. Enjoying the company and collective creative energy of the group, stepping out of our busy lives for a short break and the beauty of hanging our very own art works in our home. I’m always thinking of the next canvas…….