Home › ThinkSpace › Week 8: Tuning in to Your Body with Arts-Based Techniques › Activity: Explore Bodily Sensations
April 26, 2016 at 12:00 am
I usually don’t make an explanation for this exercise. I just tell the class that we are going to listen to some music, and they will make marks with their charcoal sticks on the paper based upon how the music makes them feel. I know they are thinking, “Okay, this will be easy (and maybe boring)”. Then I break out the blindfolds! I give one to each person and tell them that they are going to have a mindful experience, focusing their awareness on the present moment; noticing the sensations in their bodies, their thoughts, and their emotions. They will listen to four different songs and experience how the pace and velocity of their mark-making changes as the music changes.
And that, my friends, is what we will do today – make marks on paper to music. Sounds simple enough, right? Assemble your supplies: a piece of paper, and something to make marks on the paper. Oh, and a blindfold – it can be a bandanna, a scarf, or a piece of fabric that is narrow enough to fit over your eyes, and long enough to tie around your head.
I really like to use pieces of compressed charcoal for this because you can use the tip as well as the sides; but you can use anything – a Sharpie, a pencil, any kind of crayon, even a gel or ballpoint pen. For the paper, you can use any of the substrates shown in yesterday’s post called “A Note about Paper”. I think it is fun to use a large sheet, like 18” x 24”, so you have room to make expansive gestures in response to the music and what is going on inside of you. But a small piece of paper will work, too – the marks will just be denser because there is less space for them.
Did I mention that you will use both hands for this? We’re going double-fisted today! So you will need TWO writing instruments. They don’t have to be the same. So for example a pen and a pencil, or a Sharpie and a crayon will work fine.
Set Your Intention, Not Your Expectation
Before you begin this activity, set your intention for what you would like to gain from the experience. This is up to you and can be anything: a 15-minute mini-retreat just for yourself; clearing a currently stressful idea from the front of your mind; or releasing the anger that is trapped in your muscles. You can use this method to express your feelings about chronic pain, your state of health, or other issues in your life. This type of mark making is all about the experience; it is a vehicle for self-expression and it can even vocalize, symbolically on your behalf, what you might not be able to communicate or articulate in words.
Here is the 15-minute Spotify playlist. You can download the free app onto your smartphone, tablet, or computer. Be sure to queue it up before putting on your blindfold.
SPOTIFY PLAYLIST LINK:
I hope you will find today’s art exploration therapeutic and revealing. Post here about your experience, and upload your artwork!
#markmaking #blindfolded #mindfulexperience #doublefisted #miniretreat #selfexpression
April 26, 2016 at 12:38 pm
Steps for this Activity
Very simple. You are going to start the music, place your paper on the table, put your mark-making tools on either side of the paper, and tie your blindfold on. Then, locate the edges of the paper with your hands and start making marks on the paper with both hands. Be mindful of the edges of the paper and periodically feel around for them to ensure your marks stay on the paper.
When the music stops, remove your blindfold. Look at your paper; reflect on your experience. As with all of this week’s artwork, put it in a place where you will see it often! View it from a distance, and up close.
#how-to #blindfolded #markmaking #usebothhands
April 26, 2016 at 12:57 pm
There was a difference between the types of marks I made with different styles of music. Sharp jagged marks to a lot of percussion, and curlicues to lilting melodies. I used charcoal, and I also used my fingers and the side of my hand to smudge the first layer of charcoal to the music.
I used a large piece of paper and moved my arms from the elbow, rather than the wrist, so I could put more of my body into making the marks. It felt really good to get that out!
I think my marks reveal the tension that was hiding just below the surface of my life. On the outside, to my out-of-town house guests I tried to be the gracious, congenial host and appear calm and collected. On the inside I was nearly panicking as, simultaneously, I was missing deadlines for conflicting work commitments.
Now, you try it! Post your image and share your reflection about your art, and your experience.
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