I meditate and I hand mono-print. Is there a link between the two? I think so.
I started to meditate regularly, with a local group, about 8 years ago. I did it initially to quiet a crazy busy mind, as a kind of balm for my worries, and time for myself away from my new baby (much as I loved her!). I soon realised that, it is, actually, a brain training for awareness.
Ideally you practice being aware of every moment of every breath (I say practice, because in reality this rarely happens- it’s the trying that counts). The idea being that this slowly worms it’s way into your life, allowing you to be present in as many moments of your life as you can manage. As opposed to constantly thinking that you’re going to have for your tea, why that person looked at you funny yesterday and planning tomorrow’s to-do list.
I’ve been planning a mono print workshop recently and I always do a little spiel about what I call ‘mono-print mindset’. I believe it’s an important part of how to print this way. It’s also very hard to put into words.
I’ll try. It’s about getting yourself into an easy flow whereby you create, make marks, then stop, assess what you’ve done, really look, really become aware. What do you love, dislike, quite like about the marks you just made? Make the decisions. Then….create, make marks and do it all over again.
Printmaking often lends itself to this flow of making, thinking, assessing and then making because of the process and cleaning up between colours and burnishing- these give natural breaks and thought pauses.
Allowing for the serendipitous, the accidental, the unplanned, the uncontrollable, and be aware enough of these to enjoy them, include them, change your plans and begin again.
It’s a very similar awareness that is cultivated in meditation. Rather than think about a future outcome, we linger back, take in each moment, each mark, each texture.
And so, the link between meditation and mono-print!