Tuesday 26th October 2021

Updated: What Art Has Taught Me. 45/2019.

Update: What Art Has Taught Me. 45/2019.

The words below, after the photos, are from my blog post of 2017. Before I had a cancer diagnosis. When I “knew” something was going awry with me, but no-one knew specifically. I knew I needed some mindfulness in my life back in 2013. I sure did find it via Art. So much learning for me and I love(d) it. I now know this:

  • art of about the process not the product
  • art in many forms is soothing to my sometime unsure and worried self
  • art is a place and space for me
  • when I visit my art-space, I immediately focus on ONE thing!
  • this one thing, which helps me feel much more relaxed and mindful, may be about what media I will use, what I will make, or what I need to keep on doing
  • it does not matter, the thing is “I become mindful” and settle to create “art”

In 2013 I was searching for more in my life to help me through the bumps and trials.

A friend suggested an art-based group in U.S. where there was an annual challenge.

I’ve written about this a few times on the blog.

Today I am listing what Art has taught me from that mid-point in 2013 until the present.

And it’s not always about Art!!

  • I can be patient
  • I can see the world from different perspectives
  • I can select what I want to do with my art materials with confidence
  • I now know the process is more important to me than the product
  • I find that I prefer to share my art, imperfect as it is, with many and am happy to give it away when people express an interest in it
  • I find it interesting that others see different things in my artistic pursuits than I do at times
  • I enjoy the way in which I became at one with the now when I’m engaged in a creative process be it writing, photography, art or gardening

In general, Art has taught me to allow my mindfulness to be part of who I am. I am no longer striving as much nor wanting to do the next thing. It is teaching me to slow down. 

This is a good lesson to be learned!

Have you learned lessons from life?

I believe it’s a good fit for Min’s link up too. Zen Tips Tuesday found here.

On Wednesday, sharing this post with Sue and Leanne here for Midlife Share the Love.





  1. I’ve enjoyed seeing your art over the years Denyse and you do some impressive work! It’s wonderful that it offers you a doorway to mindfulness and of course the satisfaction of creative end results! I’d like to incorporate more art into my life. Just need more hours in the days! lol Thanks so much for linking up with #ZTT xo

    • Thank you Min. I “NEED” art in my life as my go-to and I really need to have something ready or on the go that I can turn to. Immediately my brain just focusses on ‘that one thing’ and that is where I am the most mindful.

      I hope your time away was refreshing and enjoyable.

      Denyse x

  2. You have certainly become involved in your art Denyse and it looks lovely. I think it would be very soothing and a wonderful way to be mindful. Thanks for sharing at #MLSTL and I might just pull out the colouring book my children gave me a couple of Christmases ago. Have a great week! xx

    • It is the best for me. Slowing me and my mind down (and reducing anxiety when it was/is high) is helped so much by this activity of mine.

      It is a very ‘zen’ place I do to in art.

      Maybe a little colouring will be a good thing.

      Denyse x

  3. Hi Denyse, I love how simple and colourful your art is – it’s just seems so joyful to me. I don’t see myself as particularly creative, but colouring in helps me keep some colour and fun in my life. I love how it zones me out and I can just be in the moment where the biggest decision is which pretty colour to choose next.
    Thanks for linking up to #MLSTL and I’ve shared this on my SM 🙂

    • Thanks so much. Yes, I enjoy the pattern making and the creative process. I do enjoy a well-done project but it is not the be-all and end-all. I have made and coloured well over 250 big mandalas since 2016. I bought cheap frames and change the mandalas about for my Dad and he gets to look at different colours and designs in his unit.

      I so agree that choosing the next colour IS a very mindful activity.

      Let me know if any of my designs would suit you!

      Denyse x

  4. I have enjoyed hearing about this side of your creative spirit Denyse and you are always so clever in all you do, not to mention generous in sharing. You’re right it’s a very mindful way to be #mlstl

    • Thanks Debbie. As an old (and I do mean OLD) Infants teacher I always enjoyed the creative side with the kids. Then the grandkids came along and I got to have more fun. They LOVED coming to Grandma’s where there was paint and playdoh and their parents were extremely grateful.

      Now I get to play. In 2013 I was missing something creative and this became a joy in my life.

      Has saved me from many a downhill slide and anxious time. I can focus on one thing and that lifts me up and it is the best.

      Denyse x

  5. Denyse, You are hopefully aware that you have influenced me to play with coloring mandalas. I find it restful as well. I have also (finally) pulled out my shell craft stuff and am starting to play with it. I’m not sure what to do with things I make though!

    • YES and thank you for the generous credit!

      I am so glad. I bet you wonder why you waited.

      Such good news.

      Thanks Pat. Love your work…I mean play!

      Denyse x

  6. I want to do more “art” when I retire.
    Right now, my artistic endeavors focus on scrapbooking and card making. I’d love to try my hand at painting/watercolor, but fear of imperfection prevents me. The lessons you have learned through your art practice are valuable and inspire me to give up the notion that there is one right way to create – and simply create.

    • Ah Molly, when you can create ‘just to create’ i.e. the process is important, not the product, then you will have escaped that fear of imperfection.

      I lost it over time and know it is a very freeing feeling.

      I hope you can too. No-one ever needs to look at it. I also say ‘date it’ because you will see your progress!

      As we say to the children in our classes: give it a go.

      Denyse x

  7. It looks like your art book is filled with some ZenTangles. When my husband was going through chemo the local town art program offered him a free class and he took up a ZenTangle class. And as you’ve observed, a painter paints, which is something that Van Gogh said, “One becomes a painter by painting…I believe so strongly in your artistic ability that to me you’ll be an artist as soon as you pick up a brush or a piece of chalk and, clumsily or not clumsily, make something.”

    • Thanks so much Jennifer. I had already enjoyed aspects of art (as I like it) and went further into it via mandalas which have been, and continue to be a joy. I have used and still do patterns I see from all sources and am trying to include some zentangles too.

      I am so glad that your husband got to try this during his chemo times. Art is a mindfulness activity and one where our troubles can sometimes park themselves in other places for a while.

      It can be very hard for many (including me) to actually take up that pen, pencil or brush but once done, there IS no looking back. If it’s art to you, it’s art. No snobbery for me!

      Denyse x