Fortem recently invited first responder families to a Watercolour Painting for Mindfulness workshop held at Lanyon Homestead. It was a beautiful setting where our group bonded over the experience and connected with others who understand the first responder life, as well as learning a new skill of watercolour painting. Let’s hear from our Fortem team member, Shannon.
“Lanyon is a historic homestead and grazing property located on the southern outskirts of Canberra. Built in the 1850’s it has been restored to showcase stunning gardens and a glimpse into the past of what life was like for those living on the land. It was perfect autumn weather on the day of our mindfulness workshop and we were greeted on the patio of the Homestead by resident artist Jodie Cunningham.
“It was an amazing location that I just sat and was present in the moment.
We all settled into our seats and were soon ready to enjoy the slow delights of watercolour mixing and painting while they painted a repeat pattern. The inspiration was easily found in the ornamental patterns in the Lanyon Homestead and harvest gardens. With a small, intimate group it was lovely to see the participants warm smiles and watch them begin to unwind and relax upon entering the grounds – with just the noise of birds around it was a lovely change as most of the participants had travelled from the inner city regions of Canberra to attend.
“The watercolour group session was just a beautiful way to connect calmly with others, enjoy a new interest and practice being mindful. I loved it!”
This workshop was part of a series of Mindfulness Activities being run by Lanyon Homestead. Not only was it a great activity to be mindful, be in the moment and just focus on the present with no distractions, it was also a great opportunity for the participants to learn a new skill in painting with watercolours. The class included learning how to mix softer pastille colours from the watercolour palette which was only made up of 6 key colours. It was also wonderful to watch Jodie wander through the group assisting the participants with what colours to use and showing them brush techniques and start to share their designs with the other participants. While all participants had the same repeat pattern, it was amazing to see how different each participant used colour and patterns to make different designs!
“I haven’t had time to myself just to sit and be in the moment for such a long time, that was so relaxing just focusing on the colours and patterns.”
This activity was a really peaceful and serene experience that saw participants engage quietly in their work, yet as the session went on it was great to see the discussions emerge between the participants around the colours and patterns. A few of the participants had never painted before and were apprehensive about how they would go, but Jodie was great at letting each participant work at their own pace. This resulted in a few not finishing their artwork but they were able to take home their unfinished work with guidance from Jodie about how to complete it in their own time. The workshop could have definitely gone on for several hours longer!
While saying goodbye to the participants, all were so thankful for the opportunity to relax and take time to themselves for the duration of the activity and to be able to engage with like-minded people. It was nice to see everyone sharing their designs and being so positive with each other.”
“Take some time for myself, regularly, to practice Mindfulness; I was reminded of how important it was to connect with others, be in the moment and in tune with myself and nature.”
Find a Wellbeing Activity in the Canberra region on our Wellbeing Activity Calendar.