Art: The New Meditation

"I Am Life" Collage

Creating art is about reaching a state of awareness and breaking free from the constant negative chatter in our minds. “All true artists, whether they know it or not, create from a place of no-mind, from inner stillness,” – Eckhart Tolle

I wake up in the morning and the starting gun has sound. My mind is off with a flurry of thoughts about what I have to do for the day or what I should have done yesterday. I get the kids ready and rushed out the door. I sit and flip on the morning news and am bombarded with one fearful news story after another. The fear and anxiety starts to take over my body. What is wrong with me? I cannot shut off the incessant stream of negative thoughts. I stop…and try to disconnect. Clear my mind of those thoughts and feel the expanding space of my being. I sit in the stillness of the present moment and try my best to find tranquility.

It truly is a daily process, trying to find ways to cope with our fast paced and hectic lives. Everyone has different levels of anxiety and different ways to cope. Some simply read a book or listen to music; others may turn to meditation. Creating art, however, is another way to access a meditative state of mind and the profound healing qualities it brings. According to psychologists creating art is one of the best alternatives to meditation. That says a lot about the healing qualities of creative expression.

“Some simply read a book or listen to music; others may turn to meditation. Creating art, however, is another way to access a meditative state of mind and the profound healing qualities it brings.”

You do not need to be an artist to benefit from the profound healing qualities of art. There are many ways to express yourself without having to even pick up a paintbrush. Below I have listed three mindful art projects that anybody can do.

Collage making

"I Am Life" Collage
“I Am Life” Collage

Collage making is a wonderful way to tell your story through images. It is also a great way to express yourself without having any technical drawing or painting skills. Simply cut and paste images that you are drawn to and that represent who you are. The collage example here is a reflection board that represents my love and connection with nature. Use this platform to make reflection boards as an expression of who you are, a goal board that represents future goals you would like to achieve, or you can just have fun and piece together images you love in an abstract way. It is extremely gratifying, and is great opportunity to reconnect with you!

Sensory Blind Drawing

Blind Sensory Drawing

Sensory blind drawing is where you draw in complete darkness or blindfolded. So much of the stress we experience from creating art comes from the judgements and criticism we think we may receive. When you create art in complete darkness you free yourself from that inner art critic and just create lines, shapes, and patterns simply because that is what you feel. It is purely fun and completely from your mind! It is an extremely freeing experience and it so fun to turn the lights on and see what creations you made! The example here is a piece I did in the dark where I imagined myself in a confident pose. I was quite surprised when I turned the lights on!

Adult Coloring Pages

Colloring art by Jacob helm
Coloring art by Jacob helm

Adult coloring pages are all the rage now. With our fast paced world, we live in, it is easy to understand why people are looking for non-traditional ways to disconnect. Like meditation, coloring allows us to switch off our brains from other thoughts and focus on the moment. It helps relieve stress and anxiety and brings you back to the happy, simpler times of your childhood. You can do this alone or with loved ones. A great idea would be to host an adult coloring party and invite your friends to join in on the fun.

Even in our own community we are seeing the popularity of adult coloring. Twice a month, at Carengie-Stout Library, you can attend adult coloring sessions. Be sure to visit their calendar to see dates and times. And be sure to see Dominic Velando’s interview, here in this issue, about this particular session and why it is so popular in our community.

The Dubuque Area Arts Collective have also put together a collection of adult coloring pages done by local artists.  Download HERE and print many more! Enjoy and be artful!

About The Author:

Jessica Burns - Weis
Jessica Burns – Weis


Jessica Weis is a lifelong artist. She learned figure drawing at a very young age from her grandmother who is still one of her biggest inspirations. Weis has a degree in Graphic Design and a degree in Fashion Illustration. She specializes in portraiture and figure drawing but has wide range of artistic expression. Weis is vice president of the Dubuque Area Arts Collective. She enjoys sharing her artistic knowledge with the community and being involved in Dubuque’s vibrant art scene.

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