Millie Case May 7, 2021 Dot to Dot
I quickly put away the jar, vinegar, and baking soda and moved on to another exercise and another and another. At the end of each mindfulness class, I conclude with the same exercise: lying on your stomach and drawing your happy place. As soon as I announce that we are going to be doing the mindful drawing, they excitedly drop to their tummies and wiggle with the anticipation of a kid on Christmas morning. I pass out the fresh white paper and a can containing shards of crayons. The second their crayons hit the paper, you can hear a pin drop. There is no goofing around, there is no talking, but there is complete mindfulness. For fifteen minutes, they will draw, colour, and become immersed in their creation. Of course the real magic is not what is happening on the paper but rather what is happening in their mind. They are thinking about their happy place and then making it happen on paper - perfect mindfulness. It is the same as when we use guided visualization to enter into meditation.
Use Round Objects as Stencils Using a felt tip pen or soft pencil draw around round objects to create a spotty or circle design on your pottery. All pencil and felt tip lines when you paint your own pottery will disappear when your pottery is fired. This is because the professional firing is done at over 1000C causing the pencil and/or felt tip to burn off. You can then either paint inside the circles or leave the circles unpainted and paint the background. Areas not painted will go a creamy white when fired, how white the background is will depend on the type of glaze and bisque used. You can buy stencils with lots of different sized circles but you dont need these, you could just draw round some pots, bottles or lids that you have in the cupboard at home.
When undertaking faces aim to teach one feature at a time; the following tip may prove useful. For example, you are learning how to draw eyes, sketch out the facial outline and other features, leaving the eye area blank; make photocopies of this facial sketch, one for each child. With this basic template the students can draw in their own eyes following your instructions. Then they have a completed work which they can color and decorate. The next lesson you can work on another feature, such as the nose. Simple cartooning is great fun for kids of all ages and a great start. Just be mindful not to select too well-known or favorite characters as this can prove discouraging should the outcome not meet their expectations. Manga characters are quite simple, are basically recognizable but also leave much for individual interpretation.
Reynolds story, which has been translated into 22 languages including Braille, has been inspiring the creativity of students and teachers around the world. Reynolds has also been one of the main inspirations for teacher Angela Maiers, who began the World Movement Choose2Matter. What would happen if children and adults not only believed that they had the power to take on the world, but chose to use it? Maiers asked at her TEDx Conference in Des Moines, Iowa this August. She wholeheartedly believes that encouraging others and the self to understand that "You Matter" can make teachers and students more responsible and empowered. Reynolds teamed up with Maiers this year to kickoff the Dot Day event at the Boston Childrens Museum this Saturday. This year more than half a million students participating in 15,000 classrooms worldwide registered online for International Dot Day.
The festival got off to a mild start with a set by Milk Maid over at Zoo that gently rocked the crowd into a frenzy and lead nicely into a half hour show over at the HMV Ritz from Bastille that had a fantastic turnout for so early in the day and revved things up a notch - getting everyone in the mood for more. More soon came thanks to the wonderful Lucy Rose, whos warm and fuzzy acoustics proved to be a huge hit. Her new single Lines could well be the song that takes her closer to mainstream success, but at this point it would probably be a good idea to catch her while she is at her hottest. Things were already starting to kick off elsewhere with The Dunwells and Jake Bugg at Zoo, Eyes on Film and Last Dinosaur at Joshua Brooks, The Night and Hyde & Beast at The Deaf Institute and all manner of shenanigans across the three stages over at the fantastic new Sound Control - a former guitar shop that has fast become one of the most interesting venues in the city.
The great part about mindful drawing is that it is not just for kids! In fact, my wife is a Certified Zentangle Teacher and regularly sees the amazing benefits in adults who practice this form of mindful drawing. Just like meditation, mindfulness with a pen can also reduce blood pressure, reduce heart rate, and have long-term benefits with depression and anxiety. Have you ever found yourself just doodling on a scrap piece of paper. There is a good chance that when you are making lines or dots or shading with your pen or pencil, you are focused on present moment. Perhaps if the idea of meditation seems to be not your cup of tea but you could use to manage your stress; why not consider mindful drawing, doodling, or zentangle. The goal is not to make art to hang on your fridge but rather to give your restless mind a much need break from the endless chatter.