Gentle and Delicate painting



built in lightYesterday, I was exhausted, not sure why, I blame it on the massive amounts of change in the air and something inside (emotionally, physically, etc. hidden or not). I watched my first workshop videos from this Spring’s 21 Secrets Art Journaling Playground. It was Ardith Goodwin’s workshop of the Illuminated Mushroom. I watched as Ardith patiently added layers of drawing, watercolor and paint, cut outs from other paper as she built this little wonderland. I had it in my mind that I didn’t really want to do mushrooms, but a pinecone that I had picked up outside somewhere… and that the pinecone with its rough sticker edges was more where I was feeling.

Today, I found myself, for the 3rd day in a row, without a car, due to car maintenance… such a pain. But, that means I either need to stay put or walk miles to get to things… which I have done this week and so am feeling brave about that. So, instead, I decided to try out the techniques that Ardith showed. I do not have a water soluable pencil but found a set of watercolor pencils in my small amount of art stash. I began there. I think what I usually find so frustrating about watercolors is that they are such a process… waiting for them to dry between coats and finding very light, translucent color. I do have an addiction to saturated color of acrylic. I added, as Ardith suggested, watercolors (that I happened to get last week when traveling to a do-not-make-mess place.) Doing the little dots of color, wet on wet, felt meditative, and I am pleased, at each dry stage, about how the colors pooled and swirled, left under-colors, and brought warmth to the page. I found that brown warmed up the purple and blue and brought serious realism into the spaces under the mushrooms… and I found that round, fleshy mushrooms were soothing in form.

I had the Baby Lullaby Radio from Pandora playing in the background… and enjoyed the combo of guitar, piano and surprises of modern music translated to xylophone and frog song so fun and soothing. I especially liked “Sweet Child of Mine” by Rockabye Baby, which had frogs chirping…

Ardith had suggested to think about what “Light being” means to us. I just got the image from years ago from my art journal, from another 21 Secrets workshop- Three Little Words w Aimee Dolich (I think), and words saying “Built in Light”… and when thinking (noticing?) those words, my mind went back even farther to yoga classes in the late ’90s with a friend, Rita, where we worked to “Radiate OUT”… I put those words in copper on my page (sorta hard to read.) I have no idea what to do on the other half of the page… painted it light black to prepare it… maybe the pinecone? Later…

What I found, too, through this process with materials and themes, is a real live example of HOW to be GENTLE with myself. That’s so HUGE. I have been told countless times to “Be Gentle with yourself while you heal…” And it has become an eye-rolling experience for me… what DOES THAT MEAN? And this is coming from a counselor, y’all. How do I be gentle with myself, when I have all of these competing emotions and fears swirling around inside my psyche, and obviously in my body, too? Well, here’s one way… I have been concentrating on working out to release, eating right to draw in health, in smiling therapy (:05minutes at a time), art journaling the crapola and successes, working to accept fun and happiness… AND (almost wrote BUT) AND I can now add the gentle, delicate process of using tiny amounts of light color in layers onto soft-themed, observable nature. I can add white and acrylic for boldness of color in spots. There are options, y’all. Doing a small drawing, adding color slowly, taking time to breathe and notice was very meditative. I had been wanting to do it, obviously, not only gathering materials, including meditative tools but reading and appreciating art journals from Connie Hozvicka, who writes about sketching in her journal as a centering experience and connection to FOUNDATION of art practice… there’s one of my words for 2014.  And I know that I need the moments of art across the day like Ardith says, to not only “make my mark on the world” and “Practice acts of Extreme, Outrageous Joy” but also to sit and relish in meditation and my own creativity.

2 thoughts on “Gentle and Delicate painting

  1. This is a beautiful post which I have read through twice. It is quite wonderful when something sets a spark off in us as Ardith’s workshop did in you. I enjoyed Ardith’s workshop too.. Her mindfulness and joy in the small things in life resonated with me and I too look for the play of light and shadow wherever I go in countryside or city.

    Your last paragraph especially spoke to me and I have book marked it so I can come back and read it again.

    Finally, good luck with your new blog. Again, an inspiration to me because I have been thinking about starting a blog myself for so long but have never taken the plunge.

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