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Mindful Brushstrokes

Inspired by our recent musings on mindfulness, this week we have focused on our brushstrokes. As we said in our last blog post, the repetitive nature of Folk Art brushstrokes coaxes us in to a state of mindfulness as we concentrate on painting one brushstroke at a time.
In those times when we need a little mindfulness in our lives, painting a whole design or project can feel too overwhelming. To paint brushstrokes however seems accessible and gives us something less demanding to focus on.
One of the key things about mindfulness is giving yourself space to be and to accept. It is a space to quieten the critical or judgemental voices that we may have in our head. Through the practice of brushstrokes, we are given the opportunity to let go of the outcome, to accept each brushstroke whether they are perfect or not.
If you have ever read Peter H. Reynold's book 'The Dot', you will know that in the story a thoughtful teacher asks a reluctant student named Vashti to make her mark. Greatly doubting she had any ounce of creativity in her at all, she began with just a dot. What begins as a simple dot develops into a journey of creativity. 
This week, we walked Vashti's journey and challenged ourselves to begin by painting just brushstrokes. What began as a few brushstrokes, started a series of practice pages full of pattern and colour.  We hope they inspire you to begin with a single brushstroke too....
Overhead image of painted comma brushstrokes starting in the centre and radiating towards the edge of the sketchbook.  Brushstrokes painted in purples and yellow.
 
We began by painting a circle of comma strokes in the centre and radiating them towards the edge of the sketchbook using purples and yellow.
 
Overhead photo of a leaf style pattern painted using traditional Folk Art brushstrokes   
Next, we played with brushstrokes to create leaf style shapes. Using colour and painting them in random directions was great fun to spend an hour or two. We used paints inspired by our Jewel Acrylic Collection.
 
Flat brush s strokes painted in ocean inspired colours
This practice sheet was inspired by the sea. 'S strokes' in a variety of sizes, by no means perfect.
The beauty of these exercises was that we sat down with a vague idea - sea colours, 'comma strokes' and I divided my page into sections before filling it however I wanted, and I allowed a page of doodles to develop. It helped us strengthen our acceptance - that not all brushstrokes have to be perfect, that we don't have to like all the practice pages we create, or the colour combinations we use.
 
Overhead shot of a sketchbook sheet covered with comma strokes painted in two bright colours
 
One of our least favourite pages, but that doesn't mean we threw it in the bin! We enjoyed our practice even if we weren't keen on the end result. Painted using the colours Margarita and Dragonfruit - two of the gorgeous colours from our Summer Brights Acrylic Trio.
 
Swirls of brushstrokes in pastel colours
 
Swirls of comma strokes in gorgeous pastel colours inspired by spring.  
  Overhead image of a black sheet of paper covered in roses and leaves
 
Filling a page with Vintage Roses from our Folk Art Painting Masterclass for Intermediate Painters is a great way to spend an afternoon, practice those brushstrokes and stay mindful and in the moment. 
 
We hope that these practice pages have inspired you to make your mark. If you don't feel confident enough to fly solo, below are a few starting activities to get you started, we have also added some pattern sheets to our Pinterest patterns board.
Ideas to inspire mindful practice pages  
...and remember, we'd love you to tag us in your mindful practice pages on social media!
Until next time x

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