Have you ever been scrolling Instagram and come across an account that made you feel like you knew its owner already? Such was the experience for us when we discovered artist and author Kylie Johnson! After many double-taps, some messaging and chat, we clicked straight into friendship mode and the rest, as they say, is history.
It’s easy to fall in love with this big-hearted creative’s work, the kindness that seeps from every post she makes and especially with her passion for children's wellbeing. Regularly featured in the media for her work, on top of being a published author and acclaimed artist, she is one busy Mama! We were so thrilled she agreed to be a guest here on our blog and know that you are going to love her too…
Kylie, for those who don’t know you, could you please tell us a little more about your work and your origin story?
I have always been attracted to positive, uplifting words and have often found myself the one to uplift those around me - I have a little bit of a Counsellor or Life Coach tendency I guess. I have a strong thirst for anything to do with psychology, including a desire to understand people’s backgrounds and to help them to chase dreams. That is where my passion unfolded to bring awareness to children and adults about their inner critic, their self –talk and how powerful that can be. Realising I had achieved great things because of self-belief but then attracted not so great things due to my own inner critic (knowing the outcomes from both) led me to affirmations and wanting to again help others, especially kids!
Being creative, my other passion is designing my own range of kids clothing and accessories called Meemini. The idea behind that was spreading positive messages on shirts for kids to wear and share. This then evolved into my love of designing art and painting. Combining the two things I love, affirmations and art, is my happy place.
One of your products is a beautiful Mindfulness colouring book for children & adults. Can you talk us through the benefits of mindful colouring and what led you to create this book?
Yes, my first colouring book was endorsed by well-known Psychologists and health practitioners for its mental health benefits. It actually evolved from my own healing journey. My beloved mum passed away six years ago and at the same time my marriage ended. At the time, my 2.5 year old daughter and I moved into my Fathers to look after him and to grieve. I turned to painting, just like my 100 year-old Grandma who was an artist. I always knew I wanted to paint like her when I retired, but I took up an art class at that time and thought ‘why not start now?!’.
In this, I found a complete escape and healing. The mindfulness activity gave me a break from my stress and grief. I turned to affirmations, personal development books and other healing tools along the way. Often, my daughter would join me when painting and I noticed the complete connection, calm and love experienced between us both. I wanted the world to experience the same.
I illustrated 104 pages of colouring for kids and adults with affirmations, so we could all practice positive self talk whilst in this beautiful peaceful state of mind together. All kids need is our undivided attention for just 20 minutes a day for their attention bucket to be filled! Creativity gave us this peaceful way to just be together.
For someone looking to introduce mindfulness to their little ones for the first time, how can they go about this?
Start colouring together! It’s easy and portable. Watercolour painting is easy and no mess, so a good place to start. Draw together - just grab a picture and copy it! Practice and feel the connection and satisfaction it brings. Really, engaging in anything creative together is a joy and a healing tool to turn to when life gets crazy. Grab a box of crafts and glue. Do a vision board together! There are so many awesome things Jasmin and I have done together. If you can demonstrate meditation for just 5-10 minutes a day, this is another wonderful routine you can teach your children. I use kids meditations to encourage Jasmin to participate. Now, she even requests it if we are both stressed out in the car!
Creative expression or ‘art therapy’ is also a powerful tool for children. Being an artist yourself, we’d love to hear your thoughts on this!
Yes, Art Therapy is very different to being an artist, but I would so love to study Art Therapy. I attended a workshop once and my understanding is kids can make sense of their world by creatively drawing it, much like a creative outlet of expression. I know when I did the workshop it told me a lot about what I represent and want to achieve in life.
To paint, draw, colour & design is so therapeutic because it gives you a sense of joy, satisfaction, achievement but mostly I believe the healing tool is all in the “mindfulness practice”. When you are in the moment practicing mindfulness, you are relaxing your busy mind and training it naturally to focus on one thing. This of course helps with stress, anxiety and depression.
What are your favourite things to do with your gorgeous daughter?
Paint, draw and colour. Also, boating is our happy place. We love jumping on a plane filled with excitement together. Cuddling for no reason and just staying there, snuggling in bed watching a movie. Dancing and singing loudly to Alecia Keys “New York”! And shopping! Finally, at age 8 she is my little shopping pal.
Coffee or Tea? I’m a fake coffee drinker! A weak mocha “weak on the coffee, more chocolate please!” I want to switch to green tea though.
Early bird or Night Owl? So not the night owl! I wish I was, but I need my 8 hours sleep to avoid brain fog! Early bird for sure.
Your favourite secret indulgence? Chocolate or a bubble bath with my daughter wearing a face mask and exfoliating, with a hair treatment in!
How do you look after yourself? Meditate, paint, design & write my next projects. I also enjoy pilates, Isagenix protein shakes twice a day and once a week I do a 24 hour cleanse.
What’s the one piece of advice you’ll give your daughter? Be aware of your thoughts and words, because they are creating your day and your world. Be kind to yourself and others. Practice gratitude daily and acts of kindness. Never doubt yourself and have courage to believe in your dreams.