Art can make us feel many things – anger, sadness, joy and even peace. For the artist, their work is often an extension of themselves and their life experiences. People have been using art as an emotional outlet for centuries, but today, we’re seeing a growing interest in “restful art.”
But what exactly is restful art? Why are people drawn to it?
What is Restful Art?
Restful art is an art that relaxes. Many call it meditation through art. And in many ways, art can be a meditative practice. After all, the goal of meditation is to stay present.
When creating or even viewing art, you have to be in the moment. There's no room for daydreaming or worrying about the future. The only thing that matters is the line you’re drawing, the color you’re adding or the shape you’re creating right now. For viewers, focusing on the details of the work can take you out of your head and throw you into the moment.
Restful art isn’t exactly a new practice. Since the dawn of time, humans have used art as a way to express what they’re feeling when they can’t find the words. So, why is there a resurging interest in the practice?
Why are People Drawn to Meditative Art?
People are drawn to meditative art because it’s a calming and soothing practice in an otherwise chaotic world. Today, news travels in real-time. We’re constantly bombarded with information (positive and negative), and for many, work demands continue to grow every year.
Many people across the world are feeling stressed and anxious about the future. Unfortunately, stress, anxiety and work demands are also impacting our sleep.
In a recent survey, 43% of respondents in more than 100 countries reported feeling stressed at work in 2020. That figure is up from 38% in 2019.
About 62% of adults worldwide don’t feel like they get enough sleep.
A growing number of people are worried about poverty, social inequality, unemployment, healthcare, inflation and violence.
Restful art can serve as a source of comfort and peace. For a moment, you can forget about the worries of the world and retreat into whatever art you’re creating. Instead, you’re focused on the here and now, much like a traditional meditation practice.
Along with creating art as a way to relax and de-stress, more people are purchasing and seeking out fine art with calming subjects. Hanging a canvas print in your home with a serene landscape can help you feel more relaxed each time you look at it. Art that can transport you to a happier, less chaotic place can be a boon to your mental health.
Whether through creation or viewing, more people are being drawn to restful art as a tool to combat stress.
Restful Art as Art Therapy
For many, restful art has become a form of therapy. Some people practice from the comfort of home. Others work with an art therapist. Both options have benefits, and you need nothing more than a few supplies and some time.
The beauty of restful art is that it doesn’t need to serve a purpose. You don’t have to have any art experience whatsoever to participate and enjoy the benefits of this practice.
Whether it’s following a painting tutorial on YouTube or working directly with an art therapist, restful art therapy can help with a number of issues, including:
Family or relationship trouble
There’s no right or wrong way to engage in art therapy. You’re free to explore any medium or style that interests you. Common techniques used in art therapy include:
Drawing or doodling
Creating cards or collages
If creating art isn’t something you’re interested in, you can choose to view art in a mindful way. This in itself is another form of therapy. Using mindfulness to view art, be it in a museum or your living room, can help you relax, de-stress and bring yourself into the present.
In a world where we are constantly bombarded with negativity and high demands from employers, friends and loved ones, restful art can serve as a respite. Whether viewing or creating, meditative art is a way to stay focused on the present and forget about your cares, if only for a little while.