Life is a series of moments. Whether we appreciate the thousands of junctures in our daily lives or rush from one commitment to the next is entirely in our control. Mindfulness is the practice of being present in the moment. Art presents a unique opportunity to practice mindfulness. In other words, art is a catalyst for mindfulness; a transport mechanism to our most profound thoughts and emotions.
Take a moment to objectively look at this painting. Refrain from assigning labels to the components of the painting and instead observe the rich colors and varied shapes throughout the painting. How does this painting make you feel? Perhaps it incites curiosity, what is the young woman looking at?, or happy memories of a time you observed an event…show more content… Hear the sound of the bell toll as you wander across the piazza and the conversations of people all around you. Listen to the faint buffeting of the fabric in the wind. The Piazza San Marco is in Venice, Italy. Therefore, strive to experience the salty smell of the canal water flowing around the piazza. Allow yourself to experience the moment fully, permitting emotions to come and go with ease. Additionally, there is no one correct response to this painting so if you have a different perspective or response to the painting, allow yourself to experience those emotions fully.
In museums, a short description and explanation often accompanies artwork. Although an artwork’s placard can provide fascinating information, when practicing mindfulness it is important to analyze artworks without the constraints of words. When experiencing art, we can sense and feel the unique emotions that result from viewing art, rather than have words explicitly tell us how to feel.
For example, Northeaster by Winslow Homer shows the Maine coast during a fearsome storm, a “nor'easter,” according to the painting’s description. However, when practicing mindfulness it is not necessary to know where the painting takes place as it is more important to understand the emotions the painting…show more content… With the ability to easily check emails, texts, and social media accounts at any given moment, it is very easy to get caught up in small details and forget to appreciate the important moments we experience in our daily lives.
This issue is increasingly visible in art museums as visitors desire a picture of themselves with the artwork, rather than taking a quiet moment to appreciate the exhibit. An article called “A Starry Night Crowded With Selfies” published by the New York Times explores how taking a picture of a painting is increasingly replacing the process of appreciating the painting. Rather than focusing on taking a selfie with each picture, it is crucially important to instead focus on appreciating each artwork and taking a moment to be present and aware of the surroundings and any emotions a painting may stimulate, in other words taking a moment for