I was doing it to begin with. Just not on a regular basis. I was noticing the light and the effects of the light on my surroundings and recording the sensation by taking a photo on my iPhone. On my way into the market, for example, I suddenly see where I am. This causes me to stop thinking about what I need to get at the store or where I had been or what happened in a conversation that unsettled me. I stopped in the moment and savored where I was. This pause to stop, look and then record what I am observing happened at random times throughout the day or evening. Most often, this stopping to savor the light impacting my environment, happened in the morning; looking out the window over the bathroom sink, or while putting the dog out, or walking downstairs to make my morning coffee. One day, I decided to make this a daily activity.
Many artists have a habit of creating an art work a day. I have started this practice a few times. Started the practice of creating an art work a day. Continued the practice for a while, but then, some task would take precedence or I would dedicate my time to the big painting I was working on. Whatever happened, the habit would be broken. One day when I was thinking about these pictures, I realized this could be my daily art habit. And so it started. Now, every day I take a photo documenting some aspect of the effect of light on my immediate environment. Some days, I take one single photo and post it to Instagram and Facebook, as is, with no editing. Other times I take a few, trying to find the one that best captures the effect the morning light had on me. Sometimes I edit because the focus is too wide, or too soft, or not soft enough, or the colors don't read like what I saw. I am, after all, an artist. I notice the way reflections and shadows break up the spaceand I incorporate formal considerations: the composition, the angles, the value and hue of the colors. When I take the pictures I look with the eye of a painter, which I think differs from the eye of a photographer. Many of the images could serve as the beginning of a painting. That said, I am delighted when photographers I know "like" a posted image. Still, it is only one photo so I don't get overly serious or precious. It is my morning practice. A few weeks in, I realized that this had become a practice that transcends the creation of an art piece. It has become a mindfulness practice. When I taught Mindfulness,I encourageda habit in myself. I trained myself to notice times in the day when my mind was filled with activity that was not "thinking' and not fruitful. "Be here now" I would remind myself . I might for example, when stopped at a red light,recollect my thoughts and focus my attention of a bush I could see out the window and stop worrying about being late. Now that I have committed myself to the daily picture of "morning light" I have noticed how focusing on the direct experience interrupts the thoughts ping ponging in my head.Walking around in a precaffeine haze, I suddenly remember my assignment, and just like that, I become engaged, the fog lifts as I search out what I want to capture as an image. This has less to do with what I see around me and more to do with how I see what is around me. Looking at how the light frosts the object or casts a geometric shadow I become the observer and am completely present. I also have come to see what a blessing it is to wake up and see the morning light. Here is a collection of some of the #morning #light submissions Give yourself permission to allow this moment to be exactly as it is, and allow yourself to be exactly as you are." Jon Kabat-Zinn