I sat down last week to make art with some of our UAS Hub members and I was struggling to be present when making art.

I really wanted to draw the scene outside my window. It was a nice day, the doors were open, and the sun was shining. 

I had overgrown weeds calling me to draw them. All the shapes, colours and patterns. It’s a scene that I want to capture as my dad is coming next week to cut it all down.

I had my charcoal at the ready and a scrap of paper. I’d started this drawing the week before so I was excited to fill the page with more mark making. I had got into a nice rhythm and felt enthused.

I sat down and as I began drawing I noticed my mind wasn’t 100% present. I was ‘mindlessly’ drawing as my brain was filled with intense mental chatter. So intense, that at times it sounded like an old radio that is trying to be ‘tuned’ and is in between stations, making a horrible scratchy sound.

Sometimes my brain carried thoughts and other times it was a horrible intense noise (when there were too many thoughts to process).

It got me thinking (ironically) how sometimes I create art and I’m not really ‘there’ and other times I create art and I’m 100% present. I’m in the ‘zone’ or ‘flow’ – whatever you want to call it. 

It’s an interesting place to be and as I was sharing this experience with other members I asked them if and how they get into the zone.

It was astonishing to hear all the different stories and examples of how creative brains differ.

Some get into the zone immediately and every time they create, some people have days or weeks where they can’t get into the zone but have found strategies to help. 

It was such an interesting conversation and I’d love to hear your thoughts on this. Let me know on our Facebook or Instagram post about this blog your thoughts on this. 

I recorded a quick video on this here, it’s a short one as I have to admit my head was ‘spinning’ and full of noise when I recorded it. 

Here are some suggestions from our UAS Hub members when it comes to getting in your ‘zone’:

  1. Change your environment 
  2. Play music 
  3. Change your posture or position (some people found standing rather than sitting helps)
  4. Find a tutorial you can follow, there are lots on YouTube – this can help distract the brain 
  5. Gently let thoughts go. When you are making art and thoughts arise, notice them and let them go. Blow them away and gently bring yourself back to making art. 

I love these suggestions and especially the last one as I often hear myself saying ‘I want to turn my brain off’ and Summer kindly reminded me that we can’t turn the brain off. It’s always on but we can gently distract it and divert attention, with kindness. 

So, I really hope this post can help you if you struggle with this. 

Much love, 

Michelle x