Interplay among mindfulness, art and nature

Mindfulness is a state of gentle awareness. It’s observation, attentiveness and tuning inward. It’s the interplay between the inner and the outer world.

The same definition can also be applied to painting. Mindfulness and art-making are mutually supportive practices.

I’ve been painting and drawing for as long as I can remember. My Yoga and meditation practice came later, in response to life’s challenges. I realized over time, however, that practicing mindfulness positively impacted my painting. Through mindfulness, I learned to pause and find stillness in the creative process. I learned to balance a sense of playfulness and exploration of the materials with sound decision-making.

I live in a busy urban area, so I try, as often as possible, to meditate in a natural setting. I’ve learned from various teachers that mindfulness practices support and build connections to nature’s rhythms.

Nature is an enduring subject in my paintings. My favorite subjects include birds, animals and complex botanical forms. I’m fascinated by patterns, light, colour and emotion. I believe that as the natural world now lies in peril, it’s a worthy endeavour to document my own perception of nature. I hope that in my own small way, I’m sharing that sense of respect for and connection to nature with others.

Baby birds in nest painting - Art by Molly Cranch

“Snuggle,” baby birds in nest, acrylic on canvas, 10 x 10 inches or approx. 25 x 25 cm (2017)

Wildflower buds painting - Art by Molly Cranch

“Reaching,” wildflower buds, acrylic on canvas, 10 x 20 inches or approx. 25 x 50 cm (2017)

Pink dahlia painting - Art by Molly Cranch

“Radiate,” dahlia, acrylic on canvas, 12 x 16 inches or approx. 30 x 40 cm (2017)

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Molly Cranch received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in painting from Washington University in St. Louis and a K-12 certificate in art education from The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. She’s a certified (200-hour) Yoga instructor with a 95-hour children’s Yoga specialty. Alongside her endeavours as a professional artist, she has taught art and Yoga in public schools, museums and art centres for more than 20 years.

Molly’s paintings can be seen in various galleries at the local, national and international level. Current gallery showings include The Grand Hand in St. Paul, Minnesota; New Morning Gallery in Asheville, North Carolina; Five Crows Gallery in Natick, Massachusetts; The Tiny Finch in San Antonio, Texas; and Arts and Artisans in Chicago, Illinois. Find out more by visiting Molly’s website, Etsy shop and Facebook page.