(This article is based on my own personal experience with Waldorfish Beginner’s Art Classes. I am not receiving compensation from my opinion.)
I watched as the watercolor paper swayed back and forth, deeper into the shallow, water-filled bin. The water looked clear, cool, and so refreshing.
The paper resisted at first, but then I could almost feel as much as see the tiny fibers of the paper begin to absorb the even-more-minuscule water molecules.
Shimmery, aquatic rainbows and sunlight from my window dappled the water’s surface. I noticed I was holding my breath, waiting for something magical to happen, but then realized it already was. The paper had surrendered and was relishing in the calm serenity of the water in preparation for my attempt at creating a personal masterpiece of some sort.
My heart started thumping, my all-to-familiar anxiety began washing over me,
What if it looks awful? What if I ruin it? What if I fail and it looks nothing like their tutorial? What if? What if? What if?
I wanted to express myself through artwork – somehow. I wanted to find a medium through color. I often feel confident through writing… but painting? Coloring? Not so much – my renderings were too child-like. I wanted to show my students how to express themselves in various forms.
“What am I doing??” I asked myself again.
The enchanting, mystical beauty of Waldorf art is so intimidating to me… But I wanted to try… I had to. It beckoned me like a unicorn in the forest.
I looked at the floating paper… a blank slate. I want to be the paper: calm, open to any possibility, like that Singularity before the initial Big Bang. It was messy but beautiful in its own right.
Slowly, mindfully, I pulled the sopping paper out of the water, watching it glimmer while it dripped. I took a big breath and dove in…
* * * * * * * * * *
I’ve practiced and taught yoga and meditative techniques for over a decade, but I always remind myself and my students that I, too, am still learning the art of being a better human.
Taking the Waldorf Art for Beginner’s course from Waldorfish was honestly a summer treat for myself and would, in turn, help me in my quest to teach tiny humans how to enjoy expressing themselves through art.
But it taught me more than that. Robyn and Brian’s super simple, self-paced classes reminded me how to feel confident in my artwork… and in my life… both of which could turn out any which way the blank paper and unpredictable watercolors decide.
Like more traditional forms of “sitting” meditation, art is an active training of the mind. The process of creating art changes how we see or perceive the world. It increases awareness and forces us to work on fostering feelings of acceptance vs. judgement. All of these are, of course, the outcomes of traditional meditation. – Robyn Wolfe, co-founder Waldorfish
A few things I learned… in metaphors:
- Slow down. No really… SLOW DOWN. (There is no reason to rush through each part of the process. I even slowed down getting the paintbrushes to the table. And it felt good. I felt more in the moment, and my pace rubbed off on the kids.)
Shut everything else out and OBSERVE. (Watch how the watercolors blend together and are in no rush to become something unique. Observe how the chalk clings to the fibers as it glides over the cardstock. Stop multi-tasking for just a moment and just be there.)
- Be PATIENT. (The colors will absorb, they will transform, and it’s not worth raising my blood pressure when it is not meant to turn out a certain way.)
Waldorf art tends to focus on forming shapes either from the “outside in” or the “inside out,” as opposed to the more typical “outline it first, then color it in” approach. Shifting gears from my old way of creating art to a more Waldorf way definitely changed the way I see the world around me. Now I see shapes, shadows/highlights, and the intersections of where those things are meeting in the space around me. – Robyn Wolfe
TRUST the Process. (It’s just as much about the process as it is the end result, which may turn out better than expected. Even if it doesn’t, trusting the process and keeping my cool was so worth it.)
- Don’t beat myself up, and don’t be afraid. (See 3 &4. One of my favorite things Brian said in his mellow tone during one of the videos was, “Don’t be afraid… it’s not supposed to look like anything in particular.” Yet. I noticed myself going with the flow, trusting the process, and accepting the outcome… but also daring to swivel my brush a little more.)
FRAME it. (I’m allowed to admire my work and accept compliments without following up with negative, picky comments.)
- Let GO. (Allow yourSelf the opportunity to be immersed in water to better prepare for absorption of watercolors – now contemplate that metaphor.)
- Take what was learned off of the workspace and into the world. (I often advise this to my yoga students, “Take your practice off your mat.” The spiritual and emotional lessons learned are meant to enrich my life as a whole, not just while I’m sitting at my workspace.)
I want others to take from these tutorials a total feeling of Joy. New ways of seeing things around them. Patience. Self-Acceptance (there are NO mistakes in art!)… A chance to create space between their often anxious thoughts and their truth. – Robyn Wolfe
As with yoga, I found my experience with diving into the Waldorfish classes as a meditation in movement… one that I will continue to practice.
Brian and Robyn Wolfe’s Waldorf Art for Beginners can be found HERE and includes video and written tutorials on caring for and creating basic art with watercolor, block crayons, and chalk.
Other Waldorfish options include:
- Weekly Art Lessons
- Numerous tutorials covering math, story-telling, form, holidays, etc using:
- watercolor pencils/paint
- block crayons