Mindful drawings don’t have to be good; they don’t even have to be finished. More than anything, it’s about simply doing it. In this blog we share an exercise.
“When we look in the mirror or see photos of ourselves, we often have a critical reaction. We might think our nose is too big, our eyes are too small or our ears are crooked. However, when you look at your face with an ‘artist’s eye’, features that are striking about your face (which you might not always like) become interesting to draw. It’s a way to rediscover what is unique and beautiful about your face. Remember: The portrait doesn’t have to be an exact likeness; it’s a drawing and not a photograph. If successful, it will capture something of your mood or personality. According to Greenhalgh, you can capture in your drawing “not just what the eye can see, but also what the heart and mind can understand.” And if you succeed at drawing with the right kind of mindful attention, that will be quite a lot.”
- Use a sheet of (at least) A3 paper. This will enable you to draw a life-size version of your face and head.
- Choose a mirror that is big enough to easily show your head and shoulders.
- A soft pencil works best for this exercise.
- Arrange yourself and the mirror at an angle where you can draw comfortably without having to crane your head.
- Take your time. You may also find it fun to give yourself different time lengths: try drawing your portrait in two, five, ten and twenty minutes. This turns it into a game that distracts you from focusing too much on the ‘perfect’ result.
- View your face as if you are seeing it for the first time. This isn’t an easy thing to do, but definitely worth a try.
- Look to find the lines and curves in your face, the light and shadow, and the texture and shape. Observe the color of your eyes, your hair and your skin.
- Acknowledge the presence of any (usual) criticisms that may appear and then let them go again. Try to simply ‘experience’ your face as you see it in this moment.
You can read more about mindful drawing in issue 16.
Need some inspiration? Down here you can find a timelapse of a mindful drawing.
Text Caroline Buijs Photography Jose Coello / Stocksy United