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Week 3: Day - To - Day Painting Working from Inner Stillness

All true artists, whether they know it or not, create from a place of no-mind, from inner stillness. Eckhart Tolle

I shifted the compositions again this week, this week the surface is is all important; the paint, the color and the marks are what the paintings are about, there is minimal and sometimes no figure/ground interaction, The works cannot be appreciated as representations of anything other than the painting that they are. Like a sunset, or a piece of orchestral music, these paintings must be appreciated for what they are two dimensional works. Looking at these paintings myself, I notice the color that swells warm and then cools. I trust there are viewers who will find something that resonates when viewing them. I stopped work on each of these because they felt complete to me. [Note: This blog post focuses on paintings completed between July 8 and July 11. As the previous week blog posts have detailed, this daily painting was undertaken in response to physical debilitation which prevented me from standing or walking. As I was unable to work on large work in my studio I began working on small paper pieces. The work became an integral part of my recovery. In these blogs I comment on both the physical, emotional and mental aspects of the recovery as well as the paintings] Looking across the week, I had a couple of days that were marked less by physical pain and more by emotional anguish. We all find ourselves in this territory from time to time, I went through that experience, without spiraling into discouragement. In order to avoid despair, I used all the tools in my meditative arsenal. The primary tool, is to simply sit and allow the frustration to be there, until it isn’t anymore. This week, I practiced acceptance of loneliness and noticed all the stories of grievances and hurts that were sitting somewhere in my psyche, waiting for an opportunity to show themselves. Seeing these stories as just stories, and withstanding the temptation to embroider the frustration I was feeling with past injustices, quelled the emotional turbulence. Here is a poem that speaks to not resisting the bad, sad feelings and what you can discover about your inner strength if you do not succumb to self pity. Suffering is only ever

Suffering is only ever About the apparent beginning And end of You The realization of Your constancy The pilgrims progress The meditative prayer Soften and dissolve The edge of what appears to be so Leaving only A certain unfathomable Delighted Being. by Ayaz

During this week, I completed each piece in a single day. I worked as long as my stamina lasted and returned to the piece later in the day, stopping when I recognized the piece was complete. I've had positive responses to these images. People seem to react positively to the raw energy that is captured in thee images.. That raw energy is a result of the process, I do not go back and clean up or blend or finesse. I am noticing that I am feeling more compassionate towards the others in the world who are suffering from physical ailments. All of us in these human bodies are subject to pain and loss. we cannot predict what will happen to us but our journeys are made easier, by acknowledging what is going on and not resisting.

I thought I was alone who suffered Says Farid, I thought I was alone who suffered. I went on top of the house, And found every house on fire. Baba Sheikh Farid

I am very much a process worker, marks and shapes emerge as I work and the color once applied most often dictates what the next color will be. During this period, my working process was different, and so what I discovered while working was different. In my normal studio practice, I work on canvases and add some medium to the pigments to thin and smooth out the color and to help control the drying time. Typically, I blend colors prior to application and I use brushes and every implement I can think to apply the paint. In this stripped down method of working, I used only the basics. I worked with paint directly from the tube, or a pigment stick. I used a palette knife to apply the paint, Using a palette knife generated new types of shapes. No addition of medium meant I could build up impasto if I so chose, the palette knife enabled me to scrape the paint leaving scratches and marks and/or a stain of color to contrast with the impasto. These elements enabled me to discover "new', as I worked. Later, weeks later, when I was able to sit at a table I would add in the element of blended colors. By then I was in the habit of using the palette knife and so I continued with the application tool.

Regardless of what challenge we are facing, the attitude we choose will dictate our experience of the situation and in some cases affect the outcome. I'm not sure which day it was exactly, but one day this week, I decided to focus on "healing" rather than "working through pain" as I had in the first weeks.

Want the change Want the change. Be inspired by the flame where everything shines as it disappears. The artist, when sketching, loves nothing so much as the curve of the body as it turns away. What locks itself in sameness has congealed. Is it safer to be gray and numb? What turns hard becomes rigid and is easily shattered. Pour yourself out like a fountain. Flow into the knowledge that what you are seeking finishes often at the start, and, with ending, begins. Every happiness is the child of a separation it did not think it could survive. And Daphne, becoming a laurel, dares you to become the wind. Rainer Maria Rilke

At this point in time, this habit of painting daily had become, a means of addressing my situation, and likewise my circumstances were influencing my work. I found solace and hope, and I think it is seen in the work.

Barn’s burnt down -- now I can see the moon. Masahide

Have you ever undertaken an activity for one purpose only to discover it paid off in far greater dividends than you ever expected?

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