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Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up. Pablo Picasso at DailyLearners.com

21 Days of Meditation

red meditation with pen and ink

Red Meditation with pen and ink

I joined a group called “21 Day Painting Meditation”. This group is sponsored by author, Whitney Freya. If you click on Whitney’s name a link will take you to her blog. Whitney is the author of The Artist Within. Many of you have probably already read the book or been on Whitney’s website. Whitney is a coach, artist, and creativity muse.

I decided to sign up for the 21 days of meditation for several reasons. First of all, I am always interested in learning how others teach. I also enjoy it when I am pushed by a schedule to do something creative everyday. Painting for 21 days sounded fun. Plus, I love the benefits of meditation. The group started the painting schedule September 24.

Yellow meditation

Yellow meditation

In order to be a part of the group you have to sign up through a site called Nexus. Here is a link to the page on Nexus that talks about the group, 21 Day Painting Meditation. I was new to the site at Nexus and had to figure out all the ins and outs of the website. Once you joined the group you could go to an area called “the forum” to see the postings of meditations and the comments or discussions of participants. If you missed a day you could still sign on and play catch up .

How you do the meditation or when you do the meditation is up to you. The way I participated was to first watch the meditation painting done by Whitney. I usually sat and watched it with all my painting supplies in front of me so I would not have to move. Once the meditation was finished, I replayed it and turned the sound up so that I could hear the music. I then did my painting meditation listening to the music without looking at the video. Some of the work turned out really good and others not so much. But that wasn’t really the purpose. It was a form of meditation, of just letting go and letting your mind recharge and refresh.

Blue Meditation

Blue Meditation

The meditations were short, about 7 to 8 minutes. I found that even when the music ended I continued to paint. I had a hard time putting the brush down. Then when I did finish I saved my paintings and worked on them with pen and ink later on in the day. I love to doodle, so I doodled on them while watching television. Actually, I should say while listening to the television.

Doodling is a great way to meditate also. I am including some of my meditation paintings in this article. You might want to try this form of meditation yourself sometime. Let me know how you like it if you do.

Creating Art as a Meditation

Meditation is good for the soul. It can be an escape from the stress of a busy hectic life. About 7 years ago I went to a workshop to learn how to meditate. I thought there was some special way that it had to be done. I struggled with making my mind settle down, to stop the constant jibber jabber. That jibber jabber was my mind constantly telling me this and that, sending me back in time to regrets or forward in time to worries. I was not living in the present.

The workshop was wonderful. I bought a guided meditation on CD to meditate with. It helped me to focus. Closing my eyes and listening to the speaker and soothing music helped me. At times, even with the CD, I still struggled and found my mind wandering off to some worry or concern. I learned that practice helped and meditating got a little easier as time went on. Or maybe I just wasn’t as judmental of my practice.

The funny thing is that I did not realize that you could meditate in other ways.I had it in my head that you had to be seated, eyes closed, music playing, silence…….. Then I realized I had been meditating years before going to that meditation workshop.

I knew when I went into my studio to work on a painting I would sometime lose blocks of time. I would be so focused on the brushwork, the color, the values, the texture, that hours would pass without me noticing. Sometimes when I stopped painting, I would realize I had been painting for hours when I thought I had only been in the studio for minutes. I also noticed how relaxed and refreshed I felt. My mind had traveled to another place where there was no time. I called it my “Happy Place.” I figured that I had switched over to the right side of my brain, allowing the time conscious left brain to shut off for a while. I never considered it to be meditation.

When I was teaching art full time I had my students do a project that seemed to do the same thing with time. The students were asked to create an abstract painting using watercolor, salt, saran wrap, crayon, splatter, etc. When the painting dried, they were told to use a marker to outline the shapes and lines that appeared on the painting. The students loved the project, the art created was beautiful, and my classroom was amazingly quiet during the process. The kids got so into the line work, looking for the shapes within the painting, that they lost their desire to talk or worry about when the bell was going to ring. It was so refreshing and the students asked to be able to do this type of work often. There was no pressure, no concern about whether the work was representational or not.

Then I discovered doodling. A friend gave me a beautiful leather bound sketchbook that I wanted to draw in. I wanted to do something in the book that would be worth holding on to. So I started doodling in it with marker. Using the marker required more focus. I could not erase my mistakes, so if I made a mistake, I had to change it to something else. At first I just created random doodles, then I progressed to creating actual drawings in the sketchbook. I could sit at night and draw in the book as my husband watched television. I started carrying the book with me when I traveled. I found that I needed to sketch in that book. Doodling in that book was something that needed to be included in my schedule at least several times a week. I realized I was meditating when I was doodling.

Now I am experimenting with painting as a meditation. I will be writing about that in the next few weeks. I  joined a group that is doing a painting a day as a meditation for 21 days. I plan on writing about my experience with this process. I will keep you posted.

I’ll leave you with this thought:

You can meditate in many ways. You do not have to be seated, legs crossed, humming “ommmmm”.  Creating art through painting or doodling are two of my favorite ways to meditate. More later.

Blessings.

Travel Using Technology to Create Great Art Work

Do you like to travel? I do!!!!! When you travel do you spend tons of time taking pictures of the area, the people, the scenery, the food, etc.? I do. Do you create art work from your travels? I do. Do you get to travel as often as you want? No. So what if you could travel for free and never have to pack a bag? Sound enticing? Absolutely!

You can travel and create art work using a very simple application on the internet called Google Maps. Not such a new idea is it? But it is new to me. I have used street view when I was interested in looking at real estate that I was interested in, but never thought about using it for creating art. It is such a simple idea.

Go to Google Maps, put in the place you want to go. Choose a country, a city, an address. Look to see if the street view is available and then start walking down the street to find interesting subject matter for your art work. When you find the view you want, make a screen shot of it. Then you can use it as reference material. The other evening I went to Italy using my Ipad. I found a church that I thought was interesting and did a sketch with pen and ink. I even got to draw sitting in my favorite recliner.

Artist, Bill Guffy, has been using this idea for years. He started a website called Virtual Paintout five years ago. Don’t I feel a little behind the times. 🙂  On his website he shares the work of artists that created using Google Maps as reference. Each month he picks a new location. The location for April was Liverpool. So later this week we will learn the new destination for May.

You might be interested in participating in the Virtual Paintout. Or maybe you just want to do your own thing and go anywhere in the world that appeals to you. Sounds like fun either way. I would love to hear from any of you that have used Google Maps as reference material. Oh by the way, Google has given permission for images to be used without copyright infringement. See ya later.

 

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