Mindfulness Activity #72

Mindfulness Activity #72

Mindfulness with Modern Art

Good Morning. Today we will continue to use art as a focus of mindfulness. The painting you will observe today was painted by Fernand Léger in 1920 (above). Léger was a prolific French artist whose work was strongly influenced by cubism. He showed his work at the Salon d’Automne in Paris. Léger was born in 1881 and died in 1955.

You need no background in art to do the mindfulness practice this morning. First, determine how long you will practice for and set a timer. Settle into a comfortable position. Now, take a few deep breaths in and out. As you breathe in, fill your lungs to capacity. As you breathe out, let go of any thoughts or sensations in your body. With each breath, draw your attention narrower and narrower to the image of the painting. Pay attention to your first reaction to the piece. It could be a thought. It might be a feeling. It might be a judgment. If you find yourself judging, take a breath and try to restate your judgment into a thought, personal preference, or feeling. If you find yourself distracted by outside noises or thoughts, on your next inhale, try to narrow your focus back to the painting. As you continue to observe the painting, notice its details. What can you observe? You can narrow your focus to a small detail and then widen your gaze to the whole painting. You may shift back and forth. Take one last breath after the timer signals the end of the practice.

What did you notice about your experience? Were you able to focus on the painting? If distracted, could you use your breath to bring back your focus? Did you judge yourself for “not doing it right” or did you judge the practice? If so, were you able to breathe and bring yourself back to just noticing the painting? Constantly refocusing after our mind wanders is how we get stronger at mindfulness and more able to use the controlled attention of our mind to our own benefit in daily life.

Some people love to spend weekends in museums looking at art, while other people—not so much. No matter which type of person you are, viewing art can be an interesting mindfulness experience. I am including the instruction for Saturday and Sunday’s practice so you can get a head start if you have time. This practice involves a little preparation so I am sending it now. If you are leading practices in an institution, I will send some paintings for you to print each day. If you can access the web, and you have time to prepare, read this super short article on mindfulness with art, https://rubinmuseum.org/blog/art-as-meditation-a-lesson-in-mindfulness

Then choose a museum you will tour, and select a gallery so you are ready for the practice.


Try to notice details around you today and if you find yourself unfocused, use your breath to focus intently on whatever you are doing.

It’s Friday, Breathe!



This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.