When was the last time you painted?
Over the Christmas break I had more time to do some painting of my own and reflect over what it is that I love so much about it. I came to the conclusion that it isn't the image itself that plays out on the canvas that inspires me, but rather how calm and peaceful the process makes me feel. There is something so relaxing about painting. When we reduce the pressure of actually trying to create a masterpiece, and simply let go of perfection while mixing colours and letting the brush move over the canvas it works just like meditation.
It calms down the amygdala in the brain, responsible for stress and anxiety. When painting, pay attention to when a criticising thought enters your calm state... "That looks terrible"... "I am really not good at this"... Let go of these thoughts, and allow yourself to be compassionate towards yourself. Remind yourself that whatever the outcome; it's ok. Even if you end up chucking it - it doesn't matter. You learned from the experience and you calmed your mind while doing so.
Here's one of my quicker paintings (speedy painting version). Switch the sound on, and click the image below.
We live in a society where being busy and productive is praised and honoured. How often, when you ask someone how they are do they reply "busy as usual"? I want to challenge that "busy" and exchange it with "calm". I've been calm and creative.
For creativity to flow, it requires a peaceful calm and a safe environment without judgment. This is something I highly aim to build up for my little artists in London. If they seem angry or upset, we sit down and talk about it before we start painting. If they are too wild and energetic we take a minute to meditate and still the mind to be able to focus better.
Here's what it looked like when I tried out the moon painting with a few of my artists. Again, switch the sound on and click the image below to watch the video.
When the environment is free of judgement, then the little artists are more likely to open up about their painting process. Sharing their thoughts of the process is so important. So is being compassionate and being able to appreciate the process even if the painting didn't turn out how we thought in the beginning. In this video you can see a 7 year old evaluating his work with so much compassion, thinking about what he could practice and make better next time. What we practice, we will master... and the more skilful we get at something, the more freedom we have. Then, we are not limited by our own restrictions, but can broadly express ourselves the way we choose to. I constantly look for new ways to support my little artists’ development levels. We practice finger grips, brush movements and develop fine motor skills, so that they can build confidence to use these skills to express themselves. We all copy others at first, until we master what we’ve practiced. That’s where the freedom of self expression lies, I believe... How I love being part of this constantly evolving process...
Let's stay creative! Charlotta