NAEA Mindfulness, Creativity and Art Education Webinar

I just listened to this webinar from National Art Education Association by Wendy Ann Greenhalgh. Wendy is the writer of the blog Art of Mindfulness Education and the Books Stop Look Breath Create and Mindfulness and the Art of Drawing: A Creative Path to Awareness. The webinar is worth official Professional Development credit as well. Here is a link to the class.

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Wendy Ann explained her interpretation of mindfulness, led the listener through a guided drawing meditation and answered questions from art teachers listening live. Here are some major take backs from the experience:

  1. Her definition of mindfulness is ” The process of noticing what our experience is while we are actually experiencing it.”
  2. When one practices mindfulness they need to chose a specific focus for the mind such as breathing, art or writing.
  3. The objective is to get so absorbed in the activity, you fully emerge yourself in it without your mind wandering. This helps to increase the awareness of thoughts rather than awareness from inside the thoughts.
  4. Notice when negative thoughts creep up while you are creating mindful art and pause. Then come back to the body by focusing on the breath or movement of the art production instead of the thought. The more that this practice happens, the less the negative script will continue due to newly created neural pathways.
  5. Create mindful movement activities by changing up the way the utensil is used to create the art(putting it on the end of a stick etc.).
  6. Suggestion that teachers develop their own practice first through a mindfulness based cognitive therapy classes.
  7. Drawing Exercise: (this reminds me of a great music and art immersion Kandinsky Lesson that I use in my classroom every year to get them warmed up.)
    1. Sit with your feet flat on the floor, focus on your breath and close your eyes.
    2. Slowly scan your body from the feet up being fully aware of each body part one at a time.
    3. Put your drawing utensil on the paper and scan your hands response to the paper and the utensil.
    4. With each breath out, move the utensil one direction. With each breath in, move it in another direction. Repeat this for at least three full minutes. Switch hands half way through to your non dominant hand.
    5. Slowly open your eyes and observe your mark making. What thoughts come to mind related to the marks? How did the experience feel?

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