Sunday, January 10, 2010

Grand Canyon Meditation

This segment of the Grand Canyon painting is showing more progress, I think. I'm starting to feel that this portion, this 2' x 2' section, might just be okay to leave alone for awhile. So, tomorrow I'll work on a different area.

Reminds me that I'm learning to meditate. Do any of you artists/bloggers meditate? I'm an absolute newbie and, of course, not good at it. But like the act of painting, I recognize the benefit and often feel a lot better after a session. I'm comforted by others who've written that they aren't great at meditating either, and that's par for the course. I guess I'm trying to calm that "monkey brain" that carries me off and leaves me distracted and sometimes a bit anxious.

I found Marsha Lucas, Ph.D. , a licensed psychologist and neuropsychologist and watched her video, downloaded the podcast and have found it helpful. She makes the process so easy!

Another thing that I learned to do is go to my 'happy place.' This is something anyone can do too. Sit comfortably and imagine a moment from your past in which you were filled with a quiet joy and happiness. Then, with eyes closed, hold that image in your mind and lightly tap, alternating left hand/right hand on your body (each thigh while sitting is the standard) for about 30 seconds. Go there in your head. At first, there's nothing, but with consistent practice, I've noticed a pleasant calm--like drinking a good cup of decaf green tea--like staring into the Grand Canyon. If you're as nervous about the world as I am, this may help.

Oh, and paint, paint, paint! That'll get you away from the news and ten billion thoughts!


Barbara Muir said...

Hi Melinda,

The painting is beautiful. I sometimes meditate to a tape, or CD with someone's voice. I like the Happy Place idea. Or you can go through the letters of the word Happy, and think of a positive idea for each letter. I made that up last night and got to sleep with it.

You rock!


SamArtDog said...

thanks for this post, melinda. such a nice healthy sane way to start, endure, and/or end the day.

monkeys probably object to our term "monkey brain" as much as having us as relatives. dogs bless us with their forgiveness and bears with their forbearance.
making artful beauty (like your CG painting) is one of our best contributions to a better world.

cohen labelle said...

I will always stand in a state of meditative awe at the depth and beauty of your painting.
I believe Tolstoy said that happiness paints white -with respect to art in general. Well, you have a vast wide range of thoughts and feelings – I think maybe that’s your painter’s palette.

Joan Breckwoldt said...

Whoa!!! This is gorgeous! Breathtaking, actually. Your colors are amazing, they all harmonize so well. I can't say enough about this beautiful painting!

Linny D. Vine said...

Tap, tap, tap...this portion feels like happy's glowing with beauty, Melinda!!!(I do a kind of meditation/swim while I do my lengths and it's a very happy place!)

Melinda said...

Thank you, Barbara! We artists do have to have some techniques for relaxation since we're all very sensitive, yes?

I'm so glad that you are helping young people navigate their way toward inner happiness.

Melinda said...

Ah, if monkeys could talk...I'm sure they'd object to my term, fer sure! However, I'm gonna stick with this after seeing how they can climb the walls at top speed! Dogs are wonderful and I aspire to be more like them in a Cesar Milan kind of way. I'm with you!

Thank you for your kind words.

Melinda said...

I am humbled by your generous comment, Marcia. This painting is administering to me all the benefits of meditation right now and it often feels pretty selfish.

I'm just glad that you enjoy it as well.

Thank you. Virtual hugs!

Melinda said...

Hi Joan!
Thank you very much. I'm learning that layering, over and over, seems to be the secret in building nuance and substance. An artist told me many years ago to keep painting. That was it. Add paint to paint. It will improve. Quite a secret, eh?

I hope I can continue to do this canvas justice...

You're very kind.

Melinda said...

That's great, Linny. I can guess that as you swim, your arms are simulating the tap, tap, tap that helps the brain process stress. How I wish I could swim! Water is so healing, isn't it?

Thank you. Yes, right now this is a happy place for me.

Salon Delucca said...

sounds like meditation might just be the thing for you - we all have to find that one thing that centers us - wow, the painting is really looking wonderful :)

Karen said...

I think our painting can easily be our meditating too. The other day when I was out alone painting in the piles of snow around here I stopped for a moment and the silence, the trees creaking, the distant train, the wind. that was a happy place.

The GC painting feels like a meditation in the way it's developing, and also in the way you're revealing it, a section, slowly, at a time.

Melinda said...

Thank you, Jeane. Yes, I'm thinking that this particular artist needs to practice mindful meditation. I get a little carried away with the world's troubles too often.

Art is the best meditation, though!

I'm so interested in what you're doing lately! It's truly stunning work.

Melinda said...

Hi Karen,
I agree. Being outside and taking a moment to forget everything else is a meditation. And, when we really let go and are totally right brained in our painting, we've entered the meditation zone and a happy place.

Thank you!!

Anonymous said...

It's so weird that I was just thinking as I clicked to visit your blog, that I needed to take up meditation again. For many years I visited a Zen Buddhist Priory several times a week for meditation which improved my life tremendously. I remember leaving the Sunday morning meditation and class feeling like the colors were brighter and the world seemed a better place. It's been many years since I've been there and I think it's time to go back and get into the practice again.

And your Grand Canyon painting is becoming more magnificent every time I see (sections of) it!

Melinda said...

It's very interesting, this meditation thing. I'm starting to experience subtle changes. Interesting.

Best wishes with beginning again!

loriann signori said...

You grand canyon painting is really coming along. This section is a beauty. GRANDEUR.
As for meditation.. painting is its own meditation, if we let can be walking. Seems to be it's about letting than little voice be turned off.
cheers! Loriann

Melinda said...

Thank you, Loriann! Yes, I agree. Painting is a great meditation, especially when you enjoy the image.

And, that nagging voice...yes, just... gently... let... it fade away...

angel said...
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