Mindfulness and Drawing: A Visual Poetic Inquiry Into the Representation of Mindful Drawing Experiences
Gannon, Eleanor Louise
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Studies investigating mindful creativity suggest that art making practices may be approached through meditative methods, cultivating greater present moment awareness and minimising self-judgment. This thesis addresses three questions: What drawing strategies and methods might facilitate the pursuit of mindfulness? What contingencies and conditions of practice need to be taken into account when engaging with mindful drawing? What benefits can be derived from mindful drawing? In the study, I suggest that a creative practice such as drawing can offer multiple ways to experience mindfulness. Positioned as an Art-based inquiry, the study moves through four phases. First, the researcher engaged with self-practice and reflection to consider and collate a series of mindful drawing activities. Five non-professional drawers undertook the same series of activities and recorded reflections on their embodied experiences in the second phase. The third phase involved the researcher’s thematic analysis and poetic inquiry into data collected from these reflections, interview transcripts, and mindful drawing outcomes. The fourth phase involved the researcher’s artistic contemplation of the data and personal experiences. This led to the generation of a body of mindful drawings and poetic texts. These physical artefacts, as artistic syntheses, sought to express the essence of a mindful drawing experience. The study found that the implementation of a variety of simple drawing activities allowed mindfulness to be increased, because a new relationship to drawing was experienced through an engaging practice. Techniques such as reducing physical control, minimising or obscuring the observation of marks, and activities that were enjoyable, allowed aesthetic judgment to be minimised and ‘present moment’ awareness to be felt more fully. Through the cultivation of deep seeing, awareness of tactile sensations, and activities that enabled attention to be fully paid to the activity, mindful drawing appeared to offer an engaging and multisensory ‘present moment’ experience.