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Week 31 Day-To-Day Painting Sitting Still

Suffering is always connected with anxiety. Anxiety is inevitable in life, but fear is optional. .... And if you respond to what the present moment is bringing to you, then this is the expression of trusting in life. Br. David Steindl-Rast

Like everyone else these days, I experience moments, hours, sometimes days when it is hard to maintain an inner cheerfulness, when I succumb to the feelings of isolation and fear what the future may bring. I know I cannot allow that negativity to continue, just as I know it is useless to deny the feelings. I use my art making to redirect my focus to the present moment and all that it holds. Taking photos of the morning light (written about here) is one such practice. While I am open to the action of sunlight on my environment and the objects around me, my focus is not on the many dreadful things happening right now but on the beauty that is still here if we look for it. The act of daily painting also helps because I empty my mind to be receptive to what I can discover while working. Yes, sometimes it is an absolute discipline to sit before the empty paper but now that I have been doing this more than a year I can attest to how much this exercise has given back to me. I am showing three images today; two are of completed paintings and one is a work in progress. Both completed paintings were worked on over two days. ​In my previous blog I mentioned how sick I had been during January, for weeks on end. I think the work I produced over these last days in the month show the exuberance of recovery. I took two days to complete this piece, mainly because the paint was thick and needed to dry a bit before I could add any more if I wanted ( and I did) to retain the brightness of color and avoid muddiness. cannot be grateful for everything, but you can be grateful at every moment, because even if something is given to you for which you cannot be grateful, you can be grateful for the opportunity that it gives you. ​Br. David Steindl-Rast

I began this one below, after I finished the one above. The grayish lavender is a very unusual color for me to use. I contrasted it with the clear transparent yellows and the pale blues. The grey value gives some depth and solidity to an otherwise airy painting. ​ I posted it on Instagram, as a work in progress and one viewer commented "I love the space and lightness in this, spring around the corner".

Work in progress

While working the following day, I turned the paper around and added more marks, and more colors. The result is not as open and airy as in the previous version, still it is full of light and yes it seems to herald spring!

As I write this I noticed that I never posted the completed piece to Instagram when it was completed!

Fear not. ​And the opposite of fearing is trust. So it’s really basically trust life. And if you fear not, life will show you the way. ​Br. David Steindl-Rast

The the sitting still required to make these art pieces and to take photos of the morning light, uncovers the good and the lovely that I would otherwise overlook as I continued tangled in my thoughts and fears. What practices do you use to center yourself, and look deeply at the gifts you are given?

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