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Week 12: Day - To - Day Painting Let it Be

A big part of the art of this practice is learning how to leave things alone, leave it be, stop spinning things. Stop spinning stories, stop spinning desires, stop spinning aversions, stop spinning fear, stop spinning notions of self.” ​Gil Fronsdal

I frequently draw similarities between the practices of meditation and painting. The leading quote is about meditation. I agree with the quote. The same is true of painting. I have been practicing meditation for more than 35 years, and I have learned to accept each meditation session (or sitting as I like to call it) without judgement. Sometimes I sit and my mind is on a constant loop, chatter, chatter, chatter. When I first began the practice of meditation I found this to be discouraging. I have learned to accept it all. Quiet meditation session, noisy meditation session, no difference. It is, as they say, what it is. I have come to view my studio time and my meditation practice in the same light of acceptance and surrender. One thing that has been true of this daily practice of painting is that there is no need to continue the development of a singe painting or even continue any theme between days. This has been freeing at times and so frustrating at times. Either way, I accept and work. The three paintings I am posting in this blog are a good example of letting the work be what it is. Each of these paintings, produced between 9/10 and 9/17, was developed over two (or more) days. Throughout the week I was casting about for what to paint. I did not know where the images were coming from, or where they were going. My job was not to decide. My job was to sit down and do the work. This first painting was a continuation of the exploration of the ring forms and seem to recall lily pads in a stream. As you can see the final version leaves a lot of blank paper and loosely painted surface. I was not interested in creating a representational painting of lily pads in a stream. I was pleased in the end with the colors, the forms and the flow.

work in progress

In great works art you will find success and failure next to each other. If you want the good far from the bad, you will have safety, but not are. ​Enrique Martinez Celaya

I was completely at a loss for the entire time I was working on this next piece. I honestly did not know where it was going when I started. As I worked, I sort of found my footing for a while and I knew how to proceed, then I had to stop. I was so disappointed in myself that I could not complete the work in one day. ​ It was a failure of vision, pure and simple. The following day I saw how to finish. Looking at the completed work I liked it and it reminded me of work I have seen by other artists. Arthur Dove and John Marin come to mind. Certainly there was no intention to paint like either of those men. This is a reminder; I have studied (often intently) and digested the work of many other artists, when I am working and relying on what is in my subconscious some of what I have studied will emerge.

work in progress

The making of any significant work involves subtlety, subversion against ones's habits, and willingness to be wrong; sometimes catastrophically wrong. ​Enrique Martinez Celaya

Sitting down to work on this one I thought about the ring forms and I thought about the eucalyptus in my bathroom, and I just started. I worked on this piece over three days. On the first two days of work, I hated the piece so much I wouldn’t even take a photo of the "work in progress". I put my emotional reaction aside and continued to work. I added multiple layers of color and then scraped through the layers of color which gave a needed dimension. I had hurt myself again the previous week so I was working in pain, and working on these pieces became a healing process. ​ I accepted, the pain, the frustration and the work.....

work in progress

I am presenting this work, as it is. I still have no understanding of where these very disparate works came from. I recognize the value in the process. These are the products of that process. ​How does surrender show up in your life? Have you ever noticed that surrender often leads to growth? Spiritual development?

The creative process is one of surrender not control. Julia Cameron
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