The art of relaxing… with art

Wellbeing

Street artist Rosie Woods joined us for Wellbeing Week recently, helping some of our residents get their artistic juices flowing by creating a 'Mindful Mural'. Here, Rosie tells us more about the benefits of creating art - even if you don't think of yourself as an artist.

 

by Rosie Woods

I know we all romanticise a time when life seemed simple. Colouring in weird shapes was fun and doodling in the corner of your workbook joyously passed time by. If this was you and you’ve been struggling to get back to this place, stick with me and read on.

Firstly, I think it’s good to remind ourselves that it’s impossible to do art wrong. So, before you tell me you can’t practice art, I’m throwing that argument right out of the window. Frequently we’re hearing about how important it is to meditate and be ‘zen’ in this busy modern world. 

If, like me, you find sitting still for 10 minutes particularly hard, creating art is another way to unwind into this meditative state by forcing us to focus on a single thing. Hopefully, then we are able to relax into a deeper and quieter part of our being, which has got to be a good thing, right?

Mural

One of the reasons meditation (getting lost in art) is so beneficial in our lives, is because it helps us to manifest acceptance and non-judgement. I’d like to emphasise the non-judgement here. I think many of us avoid art because we are scared of our work being judged by others and our not meeting our own expectations! Try to remember that it really doesn’t matter what you make.

Creativity is a tool that you can use to process where you’re at, non-verbally, whatever you may be going through. We can create simply for the joy of creating. Your artwork doesn’t need to be deemed good or bad and it certainly doesn’t need to be for anyone’s eyes but your own!

Mural

Putting your own personal mark down on the page is a very tangible way of bringing yourself into the present moment. It also reminds us that we are more than just our digital selves. We have the ability to make physical marks in this world that are completely unique! So try to ditch the negative chatter in your mind telling you you’re not good enough and let your hand do the thinking.

You might even find yourself in that glorious state of flow you may have heard about, where your mind and body are one. A place where you feel a sense of challenge but you trust yourself enough to handle it and allow yourself to be totally immersed in what you are doing.

Your artwork doesn’t need to be deemed good or bad and it certainly doesn’t need to be for anyone’s eyes but your own!

The blank page is always a scary place to begin. Whether it be writing or doodling, starting is always the longest leap. To help you make that leap and get started on your own immersive, relaxing, creative journey, I’ve written down a few ideas to get the ball rolling, requiring only two of an artist’s most important tools... the humble pen and a piece of paper.

  • The most classic art form of them all: writing your name! Doodle your name in different styles until you totally fill the page
  • Create your own range of favourite emojis, e.g. all the expressions from happy to sad and confused faces
  • Trace around a water bottle or glass, overlapping the circles. This can be great pattern making on its own or you can fill in the overlapping shapes with different types of shading 
  • Repeat shapes like hearts, circles and squares in different formations
  • Draw a creative map of your journey to school or work

Mural

I must admit after writing this, I’ve reminded myself to pick up a pen for a little de-stress every now and then without any attachment to the outcome. As someone that makes art for a living, this can be hard to do! I’m going to work on surrendering to process and just accept what decides to show up on the page.

If you don’t believe me, trust Picasso when he says, “Art washes from the soul the dust of everyday life”. It really is quite simple. Grab a pen, find some paper and start creating without expectations or self-judgement. You might just find you enjoy it as much as you did in the good old days.

 

Rosie Woods' website

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