I talk a lot about prayer. I aspire to the idea of prayer without ceasing, every single thought, action or motion effortlessly offered with awareness, with consciousness. My life is my training ground, each movement of my mind, of my body an opportunity to practice. Over time we will talk about the many ways this practice can come alive in our lives. At this time I want to talk about one of the ways it comes alive in mine, my dots.
Prayer without Ceasing
I have spent many years cultivating the awareness that each and every thing that arises in my life is a blessing and an answer to a prayer. Each and everything my friends, so of course that includes all the things that initially appear objectionable. This is another something we will explore over time. I look for ways to remind myself of this truth. One way is to look each day at the little blessings that arise, the opportunities to touch another’s life authentically, ways that my own life is enhanced, often unexpectedly. I begin with recognizing the simplest pleasures, a warm cup of coffee, a soft cotton tee, the caress of a cool breeze through an open window. Cultivating gratitude, I move out into my day.
I spend several of my days each week working in the gallery that represents me in Sedona. Goldenstein Gallery, a marvelous place with a great staff, an amazingly talented stable of artists and some of the most interesting visitors. As a fine artist by trade, brimming with ideas for sculptures, paintings, jewelry and a myriad of books I would like to publish, I confess that I grumble a bit about working outside my studio. But as life enhancing as the art is in the gallery to those who come to see it, my experiences in the gallery each week enhance my life in ways that can not be measured. There are countless opportunities to harvest blessings from my experiences and nourish my spiritual perspective.
I met a woman in the gallery this Sunday who teaches 3rd and 4th graders. She said she teaches them a lot of art. She is young and vital, I am sure an inspiring teacher. An artist herself, she was enjoying the gallery. When she came in she began singing along to the music that was playing, Dido, Essentials, currently my favorite playlist. I love the rhythms and something about the vocal tracks captivate me. Come to find out it was her favorite as well. Sharing an appreciation for something beautiful always lifts my heart. Our experience together had just begun.
As she continued to wander through the gallery I heard her say to her friend, “come look at this, I love this work.” I wondered to myself if maybe she liked my art, we shared a passion for the same playlist, it was possible. Indeed, she headed right for my work. I was delighted.
As a note, I delight in the interest of any visitor in the work of any of the nearly 40 artists represented at Goldenstein. The sale of one artist’s work keeps the roof over the rest of us. If someone comes in to see the work of one artist it is always possible they may fall in love with the work of another. The gallery is a great collaboration. It keeps the arts alive and nourishes the artists that need to create and the collectors and other visitors that need to appreciate. I enjoy talking about art and the techniques and stories of my fellow artists. Naturally, I am further delighted when they are interested in mine. Meeting the artist seems to delight them as well, ah, a win/win. Delightful.
She and I begin to talk about pointillism. She stipples. Stippling is like pointillism but in a single color. It is a pen and ink technique where the dots, typically seen in black ink, are laid closely together to create the dark areas and farther apart the create gray tones. Areas are left white as highlight. Some very subtle effects can be created with this sensitive technique, it also requires a great deal of focus. She loves what she does and was fascinated by my use of color.
We talked about kids and art and ways to teach them about color. We talked technique and color theory, primary triads and complimentary pairs. We toured the gallery looking at my different paintings. There are some new, small originals in the gallery, small studies of butterflies, each one a jewel*. I am creating this series to further explore the dynamics of color and the dimensions of pointillism. This is also the beginning phase of the creation of a new body of work for my show this spring, seeing what appears as the creative process unfolds is always an exciting part of my journey.
When I talk about my art, I can dive in from the art theory side or I can dive in from the spiritual, symbolic meaning side, eventually weaving a tapestry of the two. This artist/teacher and I had covered the art theory side, I decided to step in from what felt to me like left field, with the spiritual side of why I enjoy pointillism. Of course I talked about the jeweled offerings and the prayers for all beings but I specifically talked about the prayers inspired when I am painting the butterflies.
I told her what I would have liked to tell those sweet, young, open minds that she has the good fortune to influence while they are in her care. When I paint the butterflies my prayers are that we each allow our hearts to have wings, that we take flight and let our full colors shine. I offer prayers that we each fall in love with ourselves, that we find what is precious and beautiful within our own beings and find a way to offer that in service to the world. I pray that we support each other in this journey of wonder and discovery. Never quite sure how my ideas might land, I saw her mind begin to turn. I continued, rather than try to fit into a box or a prescribed role, rather than fill our lives with shoulds and suppose to’s, allow ourselves to be the wildly glorious, creative beings we were meant to be. Find your light and let it shine**. Everybody has one.
She asked if I had written this part down. I told her I would do it tonight. I think she left inspired. I know I was. She talked about showing my work to the kids in her class. She said they would write to me. I asked her to send a picture of them. My prayers are going to reach these children. The choice to paint with dots, the choice to be present in the gallery, the choice to share the stories of my art and my inspiration, these seeds are blown into the wind. They are blown into the consciousness of our planet. They are headed for these furtile little minds. May every thought, every action, every motion be offered as a blessing to all beings. May I be prayer in each moment, prayer without ceasing. The potential is boundless.
* The painting featured in the picture above is one of the new studies. An original acrylic painting on canvas, 6”x6”, entitled ‘Brio’ which means Spirit.
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