Mindful Art

The National Gallery invited me to run workshops, along with the artist, Karly Allen. I used mindfulness to deepen the public’s experience of the paintings. As you can read from the feedback below many experienced an unexpected broader relationship with the artwork.
“Really brilliant! I want to tell all my friends! When is the next course? I would like one every month. Thank you for excellent organisation for making me appreciate art in more depth. Please tell the curator that you have a hit!!”

“This was a very enlightening session that revealed a much deeper way of approaching appreciation of painting encouraging me to move from a mainly cerebral response to something much more satisfying.”


“A whole new beginning for me of an approach. I look forward to practicing on future visits.”

“Looked deeply at the paintings, which were not in a style I like, though I enjoyed the subject of the paintings. The whole experience makes me looker deeper. I now understand will try to use mindfulness. Excellent!”

“Normally would not remember / think about what’s happening in the painting. Experience allowed me to really feel like I was there for a moment”.
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“Very enjoyable and thought provoking. “

“Very relaxing experience and combined with artwork it was a powerful experience. More knowledge is taken out of it and more appreciation of art. Please keep up with it.”


“It was an unexpected experience for me. Needed it. Thank you.”

‘The experience 'has made me understand that mindfulness is for life, not just for the art
gallery,
and that the legacy it offers is one of profound and long-lasting enrichment even in the bleakest and saddest of circumstance.'

We used the artwork at the National Gallery to explore mindful drawing. Inspired by the approach of Wendy Greenalgh, participants found that mindful drawing draws us into absorption and flow and helps to silence our monkey minds wonderfully well, perhaps especially because it’s a non-verbal activity As the chattering of our thinking mind lessens and those, calm, clear spaces of abiding and drawing happen, we start to become aware of the difference between our experience of something and our idea of it.’


"Thanks for a great evening! Fun, Fun & fun, it taught me that there is no right or wrong and due to the exercises allowed me to be free with my work.
The two of you work really well together. I would certainly recommend."

"Wonderful evening. Loved the opening session upstairs. It allowed us to bring down some personal barriers. Allowing us to draw the image three times was enlightening and to see how my style changed each time."

"A very enjoyable experience and a great opportunity to rediscover my creativity and the pleasure of playing with the process of drawing. The two parts of the workshop complement each well really well. Felt like a safe environment without judgement."

"I really thank you for this special moment at the National Gallery. Great combination: art and mindfulness. I felt really well guided in both parts, in mindfulness and art."

"I really thank you for this special moment at the National Gallery. Great combination: art and mindfulness. I felt really well guided in both parts, in mindfulness and art."


“It was a very helpful technique for relaxing and not judging yourself when doing something you love. Thank you.”

“I enjoyed the calm effect it had in me - I was less anxious about not finishing than I expected to be.”

“An interesting concept which I’ll try to continue to use”

“V enjoyable. I will use mindfulness in the future. Different way of looking/drawing”

“An excellent combination of art and mindfulness. Excellent course content and well delivered! Thank you very much for a most enjoyable evening!”

"Thanks for a great evening! Fun, Fun & fun, it taught me that there is no right or wrong and due to the exercises allowed me to be free with my work.

‘I would certainly recommend."


"A very enjoyable experience and a great opportunity to rediscover my creativity and the pleasure of playing with the process of drawing. The two parts of the workshop complement each well really well. Felt like a safe environment without judgement."



“Thank you very much for the lovely experience. Absolutely enjoyed it!”

“Wonderful experience. I loved the guided drawing across the page.”

“Really enjoyed the evening. The time spent with the group initially free style painting was greatly and I would have liked this to be longer or for us to have spent time looking at the whole.”

“Most enjoyable session. I felt I have learned how to be self-critical and judgemental about my own work. Knowledgeable leaders. A very cohesive yet large group. I will apply mindfulness in my future endeavours thank you.!

“Really interesting and thought provoking. Good to feel deeper into the ability to look into a picture. Thank you very much. Very enjoyable”

“Many thanks for a really enjoyable evening. I used to draw obsessively as a teenager but this was the first time I felt brave enough to do so again for about 10 years. So thank you. The guided journey across the painting was especially helpful, thanks you.”

“More time in workshop. Make people change position to view differently Experiment more with colour Loved it Thank you”

“A good way to practice mindfulness as you have to concentrate and you can lose yourself in the drawing process”

“The two presenters work very well together. Choice of painting was good. It was difficult (figure painting) but I like a challenge. The course allowed me to think more freely which was great.”


We ran art and mindfulness sessions for carers. Here are some of their responses:

  • Wonderful chance to do something creative and forget about everything going on in my life.
  • A chance to experience culture up close. I felt relaxed and joyful
  • A way to feel connected with the world – I often feel isolated as a carer. I felt relaxed
  • A great way to be creative and practice mindfulness
  • Also a chance to engage my intellect and do something accurately and consciously.
  • Feeling relaxed and exercising mindfulness. I appreciated the expertise of the leaders
  • Felt encouraged to do more creative work.
  • Drawing with mindfulness as it relaxed me - concentrate on the task.
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‘Everyone should try this workshop. GP prescription?!! J Thanks so much.’

‘I felt really safe. Fabulous combination of art and mindfulness and poetry.’

A different way to appreciate the experience of art and through the senses and emotions, rather than the intellect. Lovely.’

'Two hours about one painting! It was amazing how we could understand the painting in such depth. Thank you for this interesting way of presenting.
Magic comments about the painting!