Thursday, March 27, 2008

Green Grapes and a Wine Glass

Green Grapes and a Wine Glass
6x6
Oil on Panel

This one took me a couple days to finish. Between brush strokes I was getting reports from my daughter concerning the fire in her apartment building.

It was very surreal for her to stand in her living room looking at walls with art all over them and the ceiling that was once over her head, under her feet. She spent most of yesterday trying to recover anything that might have survived the water soaked, smoke filled experience. We took her a new bed and a few groceries. I was just very happy to see my kid and her dog (My only grandchild) alive. I am very proud of her for keeping such a good attitude about the whole experience.

Two news stories about this:

Displaced residents return to apartment fire scene

Dozens displaced after apartment fire


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Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Grape Boquet


Grape Boquet
6x6
Oil on Panel

I know you must be asking yourself "If she puts her grapes in a vase, where the heck does she put her flowers?"

I really enjoyed painting today. That seems crazy to me considering the kids are home and there was one phone call after another. But between urgencies, it was just me, the grapes, the vase and the paint. Each little grape called out "Paint me! Paint ME!!" So one by one, they all got painted and the painting ended happily ever after.

The End

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A New Earth - Chapter 4 - Roleplaying

Roleplaying. I don't know of anyone that doesn't do this. I see it in myself. I see it in others. It seems like such a natural thing to do that I never really pondered how damaging this can be until my oldest child moved out of my house.

Long before I read this book, I became painfully aware of my identity as a mother. I wasn't just a mom, the label. I was a MOM, the MOM. I mothered everyone. I mothered my own six kids, my husband, the dogs, my cousin and anyone else willing to listen to the lectures and let me feed them. Without motherhood, I was a wash-up as a human being. This mothering was the one thing about myself that I liked. It wore me out and quite honestly, dried me up at times, but I did not know how very dependent my self identity was to mothering until my oldest daughter packed her things happily and moved out of my house.

She had no idea she was taking away an enormous piece of my identity. I had no idea that this was probably good for me. I tried very hard to be brave, but I cried like a baby every time I passed her room and saw her sisters things taking over her space. At the time, I thought I was just missing her, but in retrospect, I was mourning the death of the "Mom" in me. I did much the same when my son left two years later.

Playing "Mom" was an interesting game within my head. On the outside, I was very good at letting go and letting the kids make little mistakes and calling myself wonderful for being so understanding. On the inside every time they crawled back to me to ask for my help, my ego soared to great heights. On the inside, I got depressed every time they figured out a problem for themselves. Secretly, I hoped their solutions wouldn't work so I could be a hero in their lives again. I felt horrible for wanting that, but now that I have read this book, I realize I was not a horrible person. I was a person who's ego needed to be fed.

An A-Ha! moment for me was when Jenny McCarthy asked how to manage the guilt that comes with motherhood. It did not occur to me that guilt is an ego made structure. I did not think about the ego needing to blame someone. For me, guilt is not just a mom thing, guilt is a life thing. I feel guilty about anything I can. Give me a subject, any subject.. I bet I can find a way to feel guilty about it.

The store clerk seems to be having a bad day. Maybe I should have chosen another time to go shopping.

Yeah, I am that bad. Actually I am worse, but my role as a blogger won't allow me to prove what an idiot I am. I must remain in some sort of authority place so that I am worthy of passing on vital information.

What I figured out from this was that my roles as a mother, a wife and a nice public person were simply spin-offs of my guilt. This ego thing is pretty complicated. If I knowingly had to put together the structure on which it is built, I would tear my hair out.

Moving on to the other side of role playing is my role as an artist.

Honestly, I barely know what I am doing. I know that my insides crave putting something in my hand and creating some sort of optical illusion of depth and space on paper, canvas or wooden panel. I am rarely satisfied and quite often as I put down a mark, I regret putting down the mark. More often than not, I spend more time trying to fix the mark I put down initially than moving on to making the next mark. This too, is ego.

Eckhart told a story about an expert archer that was very determined to win an archery contest. Each time he drew his bow, he was so set on winning that he would miss his mark. When someone asked the monk why this was happening, the monk replied "His need to win is draining his power."

This got me really thinking about how I approach my work as an artist. I have been doing a lot of small studies to learn this and that. Am I really learning from this experience? At times, I can honestly say yes, I have learned some valuable information. There are other times when I am so determined to win approval that I lose all sight of the original goal. How many times have I chosen a subject, a color or a style that I hoped someone "out there" would like?

My identity as an artist is very wrapped around progress. Rather than just enjoy the process, I am attempting to enjoy the progress. Most seasoned artists will tell you that the progress comes when you focus on process. As I look through some of the work I have produced, I can honestly see where I was focused on process and where I was much more concerned about progress.

I am not sure how this is going to change my art. I feel as though a huge spotlight is shining on my "role" as an artist. I am hearing my ego tell me all kinds of unhelpful garbage about my future. I hear my ego starting a lot of sentences with "If you want to make it as an artist you better.. " My ego reminds me that the middle of a recession is not a good time to be an artist. This usually happens at the grocery store checkout where I am buying less groceries than before, but paying more. The important thing, Eckhart writes, is that I am hearing my ego telling me this. There is a space now between the thought and me.

As I gather my subjects and begin to set up my space to paint, there is so much freedom in my soul. My ego is ranting, but it doesn't matter because good or bad, I am going to honor this time and place I have before me to create. In the words of the great Scarlett Ohara "I can't think about that right now. If I do, I'll go crazy. I'll think about that tomorrow."

Eckhart Tolle says "Passion is greater when you focus on now."

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Ack!



Pensive Morning
9x12
Oil on Panel

So this is on my shelf and staring at me. Begging me to fix what is going wrong. With puppy dog eyes like this, who can resist? There is still an issue between the nose and the mouth that is not working. Do I dare try to fix it and possibly make it worse? Or do I leave it with that sad puppy like look and start over? mmm... thats a tough decision.

I could leave it as is and give it to my son and tell him "This is what I looked like while you were in basic training."

I am generally a pretty happy person, so this painting just makes me laugh. It reminds me of those times I faked a frown to get my way with someone. Or perhaps those times when I was trying to frown at the obvious end of one of the kids' lives when I was really smiling and laughing inside.

The decision is still out, so you may see this one posted again.



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Sunday, March 23, 2008

Pensive Morning

Pensive Morning
9x12
Oil on panel
Limited Palette

Another limited palette painting using the same colors as last time. Titanium White, Burnt Sienna, Yellow Ocher and Ivory Black. I wanted to get more age in this than the last one. I sat between an east facing and north facing windows to get a warm and cool light. It was quite a challenge to do this one. I had to really look hard.


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Friday, March 21, 2008

Self Portrait


Self Portrait
9x12
Oil on Panel

A late night rendezvous with paint. This is a limited palette painting with Burnt Sienna, Yellow Ochre, Ivory Black and Titanium White. I felt a need to get back to the essentials. I got some things right and some things wrong, but I do love working with this palette. It is a challenge to get back into the same position when working with a mirror. This looks similar to me, but not quite me. I look a bit older in person than this painting tells. Its not bad for a 3 am finish tho.

Metaphor: Sometimes I let my ego get so carried away that I cannot separate the endless ego chatter from what is actually there. When that happens, it is important to remember the simple facts. I have two eyes, a nose, a mouth, a chin, etc. There is beauty in that simplicity.



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Save the Roses


Save the Roses
6x6
Oil on Panel

The sun outside was beautiful yesterday. It came through the window so nicely that I had to do a painting near it. So I put these roses down on a wooden box and started my initial sketch on my panel. Things were going along nicely and just as I finished getting all of my paint mixed, the phone rang.

By the time I got off the phone (a long phone call) the sun was starting to change drastically. I tried with all my might to save the original version, since it was so full of light and so happy, but alas, I lost it and the sun had changed so much by the time I got this done that I just could not keep the original image I wanted to paint in my head.

Metaphor:

In our lives it is important to adapt and change as the world changes around us. We often fight to keep the original version of our dreams alive, when perhaps the best solution is to take a step back and find the beauty in what is happening right now.



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Thursday, March 20, 2008

Jonathan Hardesty - An Amazing Journey

Jonathan Hardesty is an artist I truly respect and admire. I came across his posts about bargue drawings on Concept art about 4 years ago. Though his art is amazing and he makes it look easy, it didn't start out that way. It was hard work.

Journey of an Absolute Rookie is a documentary of his journey. I invite you to browse through this thread and watch him struggle and try and work for every bit of skill. He is not a personal friend. I have never been in contact with him, but his efforts have been an incredible inspiration to me. When you are done browsing, head over to his website and see what his work looks like today. It is an astonishing difference. He has had an amazing journey. My guess is that it isn't over yet.

Jonathan Hardesty (His website)

If I had the money to collect an artists work, his would be at the top of my list.




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Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Trusted Friends

Trusted Friends
6x6
Oil on panel

Got a bit of glare on this one and I am afraid the lighting is not much better in the other rooms.

We are breakfast people. We eat breakfast for dinner on many occasions. We have owned many spatula's to turn our pancakes, but none are favored like this one. It is a bit bent and pretty out of shape, but when it comes time to turn a pancake he is a pro. When it is missing the whole family goes on a search and destroy mission to recover this old friend from the enemy that would keep it from us. Everyone knows that a half turned pancake looks like. No one wants one.

So this is our trusted friend Mr. Spatula and his trusted friend the pinch crock.

I am playing with some Raw Sienna on this one. I haven't used Raw Sienna before. I kind of like it. It adds a nice warm glow to the other colors.

A New Earth - Chapter 3 - After the class notes.

Eckhart Tolle said "You can enjoy the form more if you don't completely identify with the form."



His answer to this question was an eye opener to me. I wrote this in my book because I was really struggling with this in my own mind. By letting go of the ego, does that mean I must give up goal making and buying things for my house? Does that mean I should not strive to become a better artist? Does that mean I should not prepare for the future at all? I didn't know if my ego is ready to give up all of those things.

I think what Eckhart Tolle is saying is that enjoying goals or things are a natural part of our daily lives. Enjoy them while they are here. Making goals is a good thing. Striving to meet those goals can be a journey of its own. Becoming a better person because you met that goal is all ego. This is very hard to wrap my head around because a thousand what-if's come popping into my head. Something he said in the last class resonates with this idea. If you get something and it doesn't satisfy, that was ego.

This causes me to take a different approach to how I think about doing my art. Rather than count my paintings, hoping that each one gets me one step closer to that label of "She's a good artist" I will just paint, or draw, or do what my gut wants me to do. That doesn't mean I get to be a slacker. I need to honor that time and space I have for art every day that I have it. So many times, I have stood in front of that easel and thought "I just need to get through this painting so I can be one painting closer to the end goal" when things are not going so good. Perhaps a better way to look at it is "I need to stop and breath and really look at my object and try to understand what it is trying to teach me." There is not goal. There is no racing to the finish. There is a journey in each painting.

I am sure that a lot of my artist block is generated by the ego:
It won't be good enough. No body wants a drawing/painting of this. I won't be capable. My instructor would frown if he saw this. I don't have enough training. I am not original. I am not as talented as another artist.
All of these thoughts are my ego in repair mode. If I save myself from disappointment then I can move on to the next empty accomplishment.

Something I heard on Zencast is:
When we look at someone or something and say "This is beautiful" we assume that is a characteristic of that person or thing. It is not a characteristic of that person or thing, it is a characteristic of how we see that thing. There may be others that agree with us, which is just a characteristic of how they see that person or thing. If someone disagrees with us, then it is still not a characteristic of that person or thing, it is simply a characteristic of how that person views them or it.
So perhaps I need not be so worried about what others think. Even better; I need to not be so worried about what I think. Maybe I need to just paint or draw and tell my ego to shut up for a while.

A quote from page 71:

There is only one absolute Truth and all other truths will emanate from it. When you find that Truth, your actions will be in alignment with it.

From page 84:

And so, the three predominate states of egoic relationships are: Wanting, thwarted wanting (anger, resentment, blaming, complaining) and indifference.

While I have many notes in my book from last nights class, these are the thoughts I woke up thinking about.

You can catch Chapter 3 on Oprah's website HERE.


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Monday, March 17, 2008

An Apple

An Apple
6x6
Oil on Panel

I think every artist must paint an apple at some point in their lives. I did this one by the light of our north facing window. I enjoyed this mostly because it felt more like drawing with paint.

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Sunday, March 16, 2008

Market Man

Market Man
6x6
Oil on Panel

I am not happy with this. I am not happy for several reasons. I did this for a Weekend Drawing Event on Wetcanvas. Some days I fight like a mad woman for colors. A good portion of those times I lose horribly. Today was one of those.

I post this because it is an attempt. My ego wants to make all kinds of excuses for the bad painting. I wasn't working from life. I was working off a computer screen. I got interrupted. I couldn't get in the zone. I really do need to take a portrait class so I can learn how to mix skin tones. I suppose all of those excuses will work, but the end result is.. a bad painting, no matter how you look at it. (Hmm.. I haven't looked at it upside down yet.. there might be hope!)

I guess I will just accept it for what it is and move on.

I am really having the urge to dig out the dry media and do something a little more in my comfort zone to get the ego boost. I figured out a new way to get sketches up on a canvas. I will have to share that at a later date. For now, I really need to do something that will make my poor ego feel better.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Chapter 3: The Core of Ego - Workbook questions

  • The first part of Chapter 3 is about complaining, which includes faultfinding, grumbling and making negative comments in your speech or thought. This week, keep a running list of how often you complain during each day. Pay particular attention to a complaint that serves no useful purpose (any complaint that is not going to bring about a positive change in a situation or another person). For example, complaints about traffic, weather, having to wait in line or on the phone. Complaints about what someone said or did (or failed to say or do). Complaints about your marriage, job, finances, health or groups of people. Notice the complaining voice in your head. Notice its only purpose is to be right, to be superior, to feel a stronger sense of separateness from others. Whenever you notice the complaining voice, are you able to see it for what it is—a conditioned mind pattern, the voice of the ego? It is not who you are. And who are you? The one who recognizes that voice. Record your running list of complaints and your observations about them here.

I am going to be honest. Before I started working with this book and really paying attention to what I was thinking and how I was behaving, I complained a lot. Since reading and applying some of what I am learning, I have noticed a huge decrease in the amount of whining I do.

For the sake of honest, here is my list that I did or currently do hear in my mind:

There isn't enough attention or support being paid to me in some relationships.
I am too unskilled and uneducated to get a "decent" job.
I don't get to do things that are fun.
I don't have very many friends
I don't have a nice car
I don't have what it takes to be a great artist
I don't have nice things when people do come to my house.



  • This week, watch out for any underlying resentment and negative thoughts about what you are doing, which invariably implies, "I don’t want to be doing this." (For example: "I don’t want to be cleaning up after my kids." "I don’t want to be in this traffic jam." "I don’t want to be doing this work today." "I don’t want to be sick at home today.") Can you see that these thoughts are futile and harmful? Are you able to let go of the complaining voice and just do what you have to do right now and be free of all negativity while you are doing it? Cite a few experiences of moments this week when you were able to release an underlying resentment about something you were doing. What happened when you did?
A big one for me: "Is what I am doing really going to matter?

"Am I painting this for nothing?"
"My family doesn't notice when I do nice things for them."
"It's not like I have any real impact when I do accomplish things."

Recognition is a big thing for me. I crave recognition. I want people to recognize that I am smart and creative. I want people to recognize that I am doing things that will benefit them more than myself. I want people to see what I have "given up" to be in the right place, at the right time, doing the right thing for them. I want people to recognize that I am "nicer than most". I truly resent lack of recognition on the inside. Sometimes I voice it on the outside. I voice it on the inside a lot.

A quick story:

The other day my oldest daughter and I went to the gas station to fill her tank. When we got there, there was a big hold up inside at the cash register. It seems that the gas card machine was not working and the poor cashier could not ring up this ladies gas on the discount without this machine. The lady was furious. As I was listening to the complaining, I looked at the register and saw the amount was $17. I can afford to give $17 to a stranger. So I proceeded to hand the cashier my debit card.

The lady that was complaining stopped me from handing my card to the cashier and proceeded to let me know firmly that this was not the point. She had a card she could put it on, but if they were going to issue gas cards, then "By God they better take them when it's time to pay!" and "Furthermore, if she cannot ring this up on the gas card, then I better get my discount if I puts it on her bank card!" Well... I guess she told me!

We stood there probably another 15 minutes as the cashier tried and retried and retried to run this card. More and more people got in place behind me and eventually, there was no room inside and people were forced to stand outside the tiny little hut to pay for their gas. Eventually, the lady did give in after getting phone numbers for managers and corporate complaint lines.

The poor cashier was nearly in tears when it was my turn. "I like you! You seem like a very nice girl!" I said to her with as kind of a smile as I could make. Her friend was patiently waiting for the line to empty so she could talk to the cashier and as I left, I turned to her and said "I am sure glad you are here. She really needs a friend tonight."

When I returned to the car, my daughter asked me what the hold up was. After I explained what happened she said "Geez Mom. You should have told that lady that the least she could do is be grateful that you were trying to pay for HER gas!" I explained that in my mind, she probably went home, cooled down and thought about it. It was then that she would think to herself "Hmm.. that woman at the gas station sure was nice!". My daughter disagreed, but gave me credit for being much more patient with the situation than she would have been.

The moral of this story:


I am getting there. I still have to pretend to myself that I do get recognition, I just don't always get to be there when they realize it. Lacking that, I fed on my daughters compliment of my patience. I look forward to the day when I can do something like this and not make up some kind of story to make my ego leave me alone.



  • Is there someone in your life you have not completely forgiven, someone you have turned into an "enemy"? Write down that person’s name and a list of your grievances. Then answer the questions from page 74: "What is it in [your perceived enemy] that you find most upsetting, most disturbing? Their selfishness? Their greed? Their need for power and control? Their insincerity, dishonesty, propensity to violence, or whatever it may be?" Be honest as you write. Feel the emotion behind your thoughts.
    "Anything that you resent and strongly react to in another is also in you." (p. 74) In that sense, you have much to learn from your enemies. Go back and re-read your response to the last questions. Then list here what you can learn about yourself from your grievances about your “enemy.”
I can honestly say that I have forgiven every enemy I had before I read this book. I may not have seen myself in them to do it, but I did try to put myself in their situation in my mind and try to see the world as they might be seeing it.

As I look back to what I may have seen in my enemies that I see in myself, perhaps manipulation and control is something I despised at some point. The inability to let go of the past is something I know I dislike in others that I also dislike in myself.

Probably the most important point that this section presents to me is to pay attention to what I think about people. This is everyone from my husband, to my kids, to my friends and every other person I see. After reading this chapter, I am noticing what about me I see in others. Sometimes I see things that are not there. Other times I want to stop seeing things about myself. It opens me up to a new world inside myself that I did not know existed.
  • How would you answer this question: "Do you want peace or drama?" We all want peace, of course, and yet there might be something inside you that craves the drama, wants the conflict. This week, pay attention to situations or thoughts that trigger a reaction in you. Can you, as it says on page 77, "feel that there is something in you that is at war … that would rather be right than at peace?" Can you become aware of your mind racing to defend its position, justify, attack or blame? Can you awaken at that moment of unconsciousness? List three situations this week, or at any time in your life, when you chose being right over being at peace.
Finances! When it comes to finances, I have the urge to really take a stand. I need to defend my purchases (Even though my hubby doesn't give me a hard time about them) I am not sure how my ego is so wrapped around money, but its tied in very strongly. I get anxious and defensive when my husband just looks a the register.

  • "The underlying emotion that governs all the activity of the ego is fear. The fear of being nobody, the fear of nonexistence, the fear of death. All its activities are ultimately designed to eliminate this fear, but the most the ego can ever do is to cover it up temporarily with an intimate relationship, a new possession, or winning this or that. Illusion will never satisfy you. Only the truth of who you are, if realized, will set you free" (p. 80). What does your ego fear? What is the truth of who you are?
A long time ago, I read a book (I think it was Covey) and did an exercise where you write your epitaph. This was supposed to be a very positive exercise, but since then I have had my imaginary funeral running in the back of my mind and when I do something that doesn't turn out well, or fail to do something that I write these failures into my internal epitaph. My fear is that I will be remembered more for what I failed than what I accomplished. I am not a horrible person, but I am not a "great achiever".

The second part of this fear is that time is running out for me. I see this funeral coming closer and closer. I am overwhelmed with the urgency that I must achieve something phenomenal before I die. When I get so focused on this, my focus is everywhere but the current moment.
  • Gossip is just one of the ego’s strategies that satisfy its need to feel superior. Try to notice a few instances this week where you gossiped, acted like a know-it-all or shared news in such a way that temporarily created an imbalance in your favor. Notice other people’s ego strategies as well. Without judging yourself or others, just be aware of the ego’s need to feel superior. Write your observations about yourself and others here.
Honestly, I don't participate in a lot of gossip. I cannot say that I never do this, but its rare. I do sometimes try to be a know-it-all. I feel this need mostly around my children and my sister/cousin. I think I do this mostly because I feel as though I need to be a person with the answers around them. The topics are not usually other people, but often self evaluations and decisions that are being discussed with me. I put great value on being able to come up with answers for just about everyone around me.
  • "In a genuine relationship, there is an outward flow of open, alert attention toward the other person in which there is no wanting whatsoever. That alert attention is Presence. It is the prerequisite for any authentic relationship" (p. 84). This week, practice not wanting anything from the people in your life. When you are with them, just be with them. If you feel yourself wanting something from them, acknowledge that emotion and release it. Does being present change the quality of your relationships?
After reading this particular section, I was pretty happy to discover that I do this quite often with my kids. We have "kitchen talks" where the subject is anything and drifts around to nothing really important. I think its important to note this because I can take this attitude into other relationships and situations and just enjoy the presence of their company. I did not pay attention to how many times I will be talking to someone and wanting them to fill my egoic needs.

Some Aha! moments in this chapter:

What you can do to a person, you can do to a situation: make it into an enemy. The implication is always: This should not be happening; I don't want to be here; I don't want to be doing this; I am being treated unfairly. And the ego's greatest enemy of all is, of course, the present moment, which is to say, life itself. (pg 63)

I say these things in my head a lot. As I read this and look around me, there is evidence both physical and emotional that this is what I am doing. There is a potential freedom that exists if I could just look around me and accept that this is what I have or this is what I am doing. In my constant need to make things better, I resort to deserting what is so that I can fix it later. Happiness and contentment is always coming tomorrow. This is where I derive my "optimism" from. It's all going to be okay because I have put made a situation available for me to fix it. Yikes! I am ashamed to admit I do that.

I live in a constant state of "I should be doing this" in my head. This is my ego's way of keeping turmoil and drama going. While I am painting this, I should be painting that. While I am painting, I should be doing laundry. While I am doing laundry, I should be vacuuming floors. While I am typing this, I should be doing dishes, or taking a shower or something else. I am catching myself thinking "Wow.. there goes my ego again" almost constantly as I go about my day. At the same time, I find myself wanting to do activities that I deny myself the privilege of doing so that I can complain about not being allowed to do them later. Very very eye opening.


I wonder how this changing view point of myself and my activity is going to change my art.


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Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Spiritual Side of Art

Jessica Torrant turned me onto "The Secret" in this post. Its nice to be able to blame someone for something positive. Since watching the movie and reading the book, I have found myself diving deeper and deeper into my spiritual side.

When I saw Oprah had a show coming up about "The Secret" I had to watch. As one thing leads to another, I ended up picking up "A New Earth" and doing the Monday night classes on the book. If you haven't read this book, its worth picking up. I say this loosely because it is not for the wimpy reader. The ideas and thoughts in this book are deep. The concepts are not always easy to wrap your head around. However, if you enjoy the brain challenges and you are pretty spiritual in nature, I recommend grabbing a pen or pencil and going for it.

One of the first things Eckhart Tolle tells us about is labeling. We make names for everything and assume we know what those things are. He suggests that we enter the world and experience everything as though we do not know what we are looking at. He describes this much more thoroughly in the chapter one webcast.

So what does this have to do with art?

As he was saying this, it reminded me of my first life drawing class. "Look at the figure as though you do not know the body parts. See the shadow shapes? See where the light hits the form? See where the core shadows are? These are not arms or legs. The shapes are very abstract." Artists are taught to forget everything they know and see things for what they are. We cannot assume we know everything interesting about what we are seeing. We look deeply, with interest and hope to find something very new. We are looking for the color in a sea of white sheets, or the green in a skin tone. We are looking for lost edges and hard light. We are looking looking looking at all the shapes and colors as if the single subject were composed of many.

The next thing Eckhart tells us is to get in touch with now. Do not think about the past. Do not think about the future. Quiet your mind on these things and think about only what you are doing this moment.

I believe we artists call this place "the zone". It is that wonderful place where there is nothing but this mark. Then there is that mark. So many artist have told stories about starting a piece and the next thing they know, hours had passed. This "zone" most artists are familiar with is called "being in the now". When we are in the zone, there are no bills to pay tomorrow. There are no memories of a past.

While I have always felt very spiritually refreshed after working on something, I never truely understood what it is that seems to refresh me. I think I assumed that I had to get the art out of me, when in fact, I needed the art to find myself. I think I find the "I am" in the deep concentration of fiding the light and shadow. I find the "I am" in really observing the objects I paint. I find the "I am" in the sound of the brush or pencil scratching across the surface. When I pull a piece off my easel, I feel empty. Until now, I did not understand the emptiness. I miss the "I am". This is why I desperately forage for the next great idea to put into visualization. I believe this is why I get Artists Block at times. My Ego is pretty jealous.

I recently did a search to see if anyone was posting their class observations on blogs or something similar. I found these:

rock-paper-scissors
Patricia Singleton
Melba McMullins "A New Earth"

and interestingly enough I also found it on The Painters Keys in an article called:
The Courage to Play

I also found a place called Zencast.
They also have several talks by Tolle

Granted I am not Buddist, but when it comes to learning how to quiet the mind, this place has a ton of podcasts on the subject. In fact, I have found myself downloading a lot of their podcasts and listening to them as I paint. Many of their talks can be taken universally and provide a lot of fantastic "food for thought".

So this is what I am up to.

A side note.

When you have a paintbrush in one hand, palette in the other and a paintbrush in your mouth, can you take a sip of coffee?

I can!



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Perspicuity


Perspicuity
6x6
Oil on Panel


I love books. I don't wear glasses, but they just seem to go with written word.



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Citrus Delight


Citrus Delight
6x6
Oil on Panel

This was a fun painting to do on a pretty cold day. Citrus always says warm sunshine to me.


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Monday, March 10, 2008

Preparing the Canvas

Preparing the canvas
6x6
Oil on Panel

It seems I am working in reverse on these ideas! At least I am moving along!

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Self Portrait I

Self Portrait I
6x6
Oil on panel

Every morning I get up, take a shower and "put on my face". As a woman, we do self portraits almost daily. This may be the beginning of a series. I haven't made up my mind. 347 brush strokes. I fiddled a lot.

Hope and DeviantART

Hope

I have recently started a Deviantart account on the request of my daughter. There is a wealth of stock photography just waiting to become art on there. This particular sketch is from a stock called Relaxed 2 by Eli.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

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