Meditation and Creation
Meditation practice. Mindfulness. Gratitude. You can apply those things to your daily life and honestly see/feel such an amazing difference. Now, if you really know me, you know that I'm not one of those hippie dippy, walking on clouds with a constant subtle smile on my face wherever I go kind of gal. I get anxiety. I get impatient. I get complacent. However, significantly less so now than about a year ago, or even 4 months ago. I use the Insight Timer mediation app every morning before I get ready for work for just 10-15 minutes. This is one of the largest meditation apps that exists and FREE! My therapist told me about it several months ago and I've been applying it to my morning routine ever since and it's one of the greatest gifts I have given myself. I fell off the meditation wagon back in October/November 2019 when Antoinette passed away, but in retrospect, I could have really used it during that horrific time of grief. Anyway, I love it. It's not easy though. The mind wanders often but the guided meditation (I listen to a variety of them) always reminds you to let go of the thought and come back to your breathing. It opens up your mind, heart, and soul. <------ at the risk of sounding "hippie dippy."
I wanted to blog about how this practice can be applied to Art, since this is an Art Blog after all. Although you know mediation/mindfulness/gratitude can be and does apply to EVERY aspect in your life. Try it for 10 min everyday for 10 consecutive days. You'll think you suck at it but it's a practice. You get better at it, just like anything else. Anyway, it's helped me. Since I am extremely limited in painting and drawing during the work week unless I squeeze in an hour on a tired night, this mostly applies to the weekends. Meditation has helped me to feel happier, more grounded, and light hearted. I approach whatever I am drawing/painting with more ease and graciousness. I am thankful that I have this gift which is something I took for granted for way too many years. I have become more patient with myself and the process of creating something worthwhile. Before this, I would let in the frustrations and impatience. It still creeps in at times, but I'm getting better and gently telling those feelings to "fuck off, please."
The Antoinette Painting
I had mixed feelings while working on his painting, but with the practice of acknowledging the frustration and anxiety, then taking a moment to breathe, I was able to overcome the negative feelings. This watercolor piece was painted on 12"x16" cold pressed water color paper and took me about 2 weeks. I spent a few hours on two weekends and a few minutes to an hour here and there during the work week. I had known I wanted to paint this for about 2 months now. My Aunt (Antoinette's mother) posted the original photo of this on her Instagram a couple days after Antoinette passed away. It's my Aunt's favorite photo of her. Antoinette would have turned 37 last Thursday on January 30th and this painting would be a birthday gift but given to her Mom. I have not had the chance to see my Aunt yet, nor have I had the chance to frame this painting (something I was supposed to do this weekend). It doesn't matter though. My Aunt saw the post I did last Thursday on my Instagram and she loves it SO much!
The process of this painting started off great. I drew a proportioned grid on the 12"x16" watercolor paper and I had also created a grid with guidelines on the photograph on Photoshop. This is beyond helpful with getting proportions and perspective right. Why hadn't I done this before? Completely forgot. However an artist friend who I had many art classes with at Woodbury University reminded me last month that he does this with his paintings and so I decided to add this time consuming yet necessary step to my process going forward. When the time came for painting, I started to get overly critical of myself. It's not looking right. Some of the colors are getting murky. What the hell is wrong with the corners of her mouth? I kept fixing and fixing and fixating way too much on it. I finally surrendered, made some adjustments and decided to move on. When the time came for the background foliage and the grapes, which I was painting hunched over sitting on the couch for 2 hours as Luke was watching Ducktales on Disney+, those frustrations started to creep in. The blending of all the palm leaves, lush plants and brush were so annoying to paint. I had to remind myself that they don't need to look exact. Who cares about the plants in the background? Abstract art is a thing! Surrender. Then I got annoyed by how I made the grapes look. They looked too dark and lackluster. I put a coat of watered down white watercolor over the grapes to give it more of a blurred effect, reminding myself that the damn grapes are NOT the focus of this painting and I don't need to give each and individual grape a shine. Get over it. Also, my back hurt.
I finished the painting but wasn't sure how I felt about it. A day later, as if Antoinette mentally reminded me, I realized I didn't add the little brown moles on her chest. It's not REALLY "Antoinette" without the moles. Hahaha. She would always make fun of one of the moles that nestled between her cleavage. She used to be self conscious about it when she was younger. Anyway, I had an "OH YEAH" moment, and then went back and added 4 moles. Now it's complete. I had a little chuckle to myself as I knew she'd appreciate those last minute mole additions.
Mindfulness and daily gratitude help in self appreciation which is crucial for our goals. Of course we can appreciate our families, friends, our health, and our jobs but self appreciation is so underrated. It almost feels tacky to admit it, as if society expects us all to be self deprecating most of the time. Screw that. When I take a moment or ten to center myself and accept the calm, I can see how it affects everything I do. I'm less irritable with my Paul and Luke. I'm not as annoyed at work. I'm kinder to myself. I'm less anxious about my paintings and drawings. Things turn out more than just "OK".
#meditationandart #artandmeditation #art #artist #painting #portrait #watercolor #watercolorpainting #mindfulness #mindfulart #gratitude #keepingcalm #kindness #watercolorgift #thecanvasconfessional #artacceptance #watercolorpaint #dailymeditation #meditationpractice #InsightTimer #Antoinettepainting