Meditative Painting & Starting a Wordless Diary

I recently started a daily habit of what I call “meditative paintings.” What I do is I focus inward for a moment, notice how I feel, what I’m thinking of, what is bothering me, what is making me happy, how I feel physically, etc., and then I use this self-reflection to make the following choices:

  1. What music to turn on (am I in a jazzy mood? Am I pumped?)
  2. What paper to use (expensive hot press? Cut up student grade scraps?)
  3. What color to use (am I in a mellow mood, perfect for desaturated tones? Am I in a colorful and vibrant mood?) Note: I start with one color. Later, if I decide I want to add another color, I can choose it then.
  4. What brush to use (round brush? Cat’s tongue? Wash brush?)
  5. The starting point on my paper

After I make these choices, I move my brush verrrry slowwwwly. This allows me to only focus on the shape of the brush on the page, the way the color spreads, the music drifting–or blasting–from my phone. At this point I don’t focus on anything else. If I start to worry about things like where the painting is going, whether or not I moved the laundry to the dryer, bills, etc., I regroup. I take a deep breath, pause, then resume my focus on the sensory experience.

Often what comes of this is a purely subconscious piece, in which my feelings/joys/concerns come forward and form a small, abstract work of art. They are mere “doodles” really, but I have been feeling so relieved after doing them, as if I’ve just written ten pages in a journal.

So began the wordless diary.

I don’t yet have a designated sketchbook for this project, and so I’ve been using smaller scraps of paper to do my morning “doodle.” I hope to soon get a nice watercolor or mixed media journal in which to put all of my wordless diary entries.

Why I don’t keep a written journal:

I am one of those people who feels worse when keeping a journal. I think it’s because when I write my thoughts/problems down, I’m bringing them forward to my conscious mind. Sometimes I wind up discovering issues I didn’t know I had. Which only makes things worse.

But when I keep a wordless diary and paint instead, it’s as if these subconscious problems slip past my conscious and into the puddle of watercolor on the paper.

Even cooler? I can usually interpret what I’ve painted, even if it looks like a blob to the rest of the world. It’s the weirdest most awesome thing ever.

So if you’re one of those people who can’t keep a written journal, try keeping a wordless one instead! You can use any medium, and the only wrong way to do this is to think too much. Stop thinking. Only focus on the senses. And just move your tools around until your brain says “okay done.”

What about you? Do you keep a written or wordless diary? Tell me all about it in the comments below!

Want to watch me work? Here’s a video of this “meditative” process

Want to know more about my process? Come visit me on Patreon!

7 thoughts on “Meditative Painting & Starting a Wordless Diary

  1. i watched your video and saw how you create. nice. you create much how i go about taking photos. i dont set out to click a subject, usually, and just “find” something. i have gone back to areas and the conditions change and so does the light. so my mood does affect what i shoot or better yet, the conditions set my mood. what the camera collects, is not always what i “see” so i edit.
    i like your idea and i hope you continue to share your marvelous work.
    i find it interesting you are left handed.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks! And yes, I do the same with my photography. I love just going out to explore and discover. A lot of times lately, I will just go out with my instant film camera or my Diana. I honestly have more fun taking the photo than revisiting it later on haha.

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  2. Pingback: Exhibition Showcase: What’s On the Wall at Runge Nature Center (Part One) | Lina Draws

  3. Love your concept — what a wonderful way to journal and meditate that works beautifully for you, and hopefully others who have difficulties with either of these.

    I kept a written journal for years but got away from it after a lengthy illness. My thoughts are usually recorded now on more disorganized scraps of paper. I understand what you are saying about writing things down and having them come to fruition but for me, writing them down helps relieve the intense emotion from my system as well as provide insights and new ways of seeing things. Your method is a great example of why each of us needs to find what resonates…and to stop worrying that we aren’t doing it “right,” or we don’t conform to what we “should” be doing. Love your work! Thanks for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much for your thoughtful comment! I definitely believe everyone is different and has their own therapeutic method of journaling. Some keep a bullet journal. Others even blog, like me haha. I’ve even started adding little “keynotes” or points of information to my wordless diary entries and it has been able to help me organize my thoughts. So yeah, even if we’ve found what works for us, it’s fun to try something else because that might work also, and then we can pick and choose based on our mood and what works in each situation. For me, there’s not much more inspiring than an empty journal and a full pen. I could fill it in a heartbeat.

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  4. Pingback: And if You Think You Still Can’t Meditate…

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