Slow and Mindful

Maria GilSlow Art Day host Maria Gil Ulldemolins is a Spanish painter living and working in Brussels. When she told us she planned two sessions of art-based mindfulness, we said, please tell us more!

And she did:

For my very first Slow Art Day, I plan to invite art lovers to be mindful in front of a painting. In a traditional mindfulness meditation, you take your breath as something to rest your mind on. In this case, your mind perches on the artwork, like a bird.

Even for me, observing a painting for a really long time is a challenge. My brain is so addicted to looking for stimulation that simply accepting whatever is in front of you can prove difficult. With this exercise, the observation is guided, and therefore, more relaxed. There is no pressure to keep yourself focused, there is a context. You are walked through the surface as if it was a landscape. You stop to appreciate shapes, textures and colors; and you are not alone in this, but in a group. The emphasis is on letting go of expectations and judgment to really allow ourselves to really see what is right before our eyes.

Another possibility, if I can put together a group, is to practice some mindful drawing, too. The idea is very similar: to create with a full awareness. This is another way of observing Art—looking is very much like listening. But listening to something that is being worked on is not the same as listening to something that’s finished. So we would be looking at our own work becoming, in order to have a different perspective. The experience of getting on the other side, the side of the maker, helps us forge compassion through understanding the challenges of working with one’s hands.

On April 9, the whole day will be about embodying an emotional and intellectual experience.

Comments on “Slow and Mindful

  1. Stop looking at art. Start watching art. The difference is more than a comparison of verbs. It is the investment in the moment. Art appears. It manifests. It is more than shape, image, color or medium. When the alchemy happens, it is art; a conversation. Maybe what you see was intended. Maybe the artist didn’t completely understand. Maybe you manifest something outside the dimension created, but there it is. You must be present to win.