Painting as a Mindful Practice

Every so often, I'll wake up in the middle of the night, fresh from a vivid dream. I'll immediately type out my recollection of it. Once in a dream I was in a room filled with paint and canvas and brushes. I wrote down the images and brief memories I'd pulled from the almost lifelike dream and promptly fell back asleep. When I woke up again in the morning, I knew I needed to paint something, or at least dabble around with paint and color.

I didn't have much on hand, so I played with different brush strokes and paint viscosities. I had no specific idea in mind. It felt like a study on techniques, a practice on creating something greater. As I look at the macro photos I took of what I did, I begin to appreciate these small sections of paper more and more. For me, each segment feels more like art rather than the piece as a whole. Each corner, each divot culled from the whole hints at clues to something greater.

Putting a brush to paint gives me the same pleasure a pen to paper does [or more typically, my fingers to the keyboard.] Writing is such a mindful practice for me, but I find painting to be equally therapeutic. Both relieve stress, process thoughts, help navigate dreams, and focus on something my mind feels stuck on.  Like writing, painting makes me feel 'unstuck.' PS- thank you Kurt Vonnegut for instilling in me the sense of curiosity about being unstuck in time. [Another tangent for another post!]