Monday, September 26, 2011

Last Swim of the Summer, Stomping on ANTs, Ghost Ranch Cliff

Ghost Ranch Cliff 8" x 8" on oil panel--Image © 2011 Melinda S. Esparza

I don't know about you...Wait. I think I do know about you. If you're an artist reading this (or not), I'll bet you have ANTs too.

Okay, let me explain. I had a few days of not painting recently and I watched some PBS programing on the brain, again. This time, Dr. Amen talked about how all of us have Automatic Negative Thoughts, yeah, ANTs that are just a part of regular brain function. We can kill these ANTs by redirecting our thoughts, and we don't have to let them eat up our days. I really like that we have the power to change the way we think.

It's rather unusual to be able to swim at the end of September, even for this hot Arizona desert. But, with a pool cover, one can eek out a moment of water meditation before it is just too cold. Water therapy is great for fighting ANTs.

Last swim of the summer Image © 2011 Melinda S. Esparza

Ah. Getting back into the studio and painting does this for me, now doesn't it for you too?! So, here is a painting that completely led me away from self deprecating thinking after an evening soaking in the pool.

Amen to that. Thanks, doctor.

18 comments:

Barbara Muir said...

I love this painting Melinda -- it's lush, sumptuous and completely free of ANTs. Lucky you to have a swim in that beauty.

xoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxoxBarbara

Melinda said...

Hello Barbara,
Yes, it was a good day in the studio because I swam AND got rid of the ANTs!

Thank you for your kind words. Always welcomed. Always appreciated.

Edgar said...

A painting to be really proud of. If you can do that, you can paint! You go!

kathrynlaw said...

Gorgeous painting, and OMG, how *timely* is your post about ANTs! I've been deluged with them, especially today for some reason. Ima look up more on this topic. Your solution of getting back in the studio and painting, reminds me of the quote by Van Gogh: "If you hear a voice in your head telling you that you can't paint, then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced." I guess he had ANTs too.

Melinda said...

Thank you, Edgar. It really does clear out the ANTs to paint and feel good about a painting afterward.

I was reading the doctor's page on this, and it was interesting, and so true, that good thoughts stimulate healthy chemicals in our brains and vice versa. Seems so simple, yet so hard to maintain.

Melinda said...

Oh, Kathryn! I'm sorry that you've been deluged with ANTs. I hope the link helps a little.

I've had you on my mind a lot, with always pleasant results. I do hope you chase away those beasties and rehearse just how wonderful you are as a person and artist.

Truly.

cohen labelle said...

This is a timely post for me too, Melinda to the extent that I shared it with someone very close to me. We all need to know that we all suffer from these involuntary negative thoughts, often at the worst times - which are part of the human condition - but that by the same token we are endowed with the power and means to act positively and creatively in spite of our demons.
And your marvellous painting! it just grabs me, it's riveting!!!!
xoMarcia

Donald DIddams said...

ANTs all over the woodwork! And the ANTidote of redirecting thoughts is just right. Buckling down to work on what we love to do is a great way to get that done. A swim in a beautiful pool is not bad either!
Ghost Ranch Cliff has so much warmth and energy... your freedom with the paint makes me happy. And maybe that yellow sky too!

Melinda said...

Hello Marcia,
I think you have clarified an important characteristic of ANTs. They are more prevalent in the worst of times, as you say. Isn't it sad that we are taught that to be realistic we must accept these thoughts as truth, or that we are virtually powerless to do anything about them? They always seem to appear when we are most stressed!

That's why mindful meditation, painting, reading, or engaging in any meaningful endeavor relieves our brains from too much meandering. Years ago I offered my son a simple choice. I said, Why not change your mind, right now and in this moment? Try it as a science experiment, change your mind about the circumstance, turn away from the negative, and see what happens. It worked. It was like magic, except that it wasn't.

Thank you for your kind words about the painting!

P. S. My son said it looked a bit like chocolate chip ice cream. I told him he might want to go feed his brain with some food!

Melinda said...

Ha! Don, You made me smile! I totally get it. You have a fellow traveler--many thousands, don't you think?!

I'm glad you like the "ANTidote." I like to think of redirecting our thoughts as a kind of invitation to move toward goodness, but not a denial of unpleasant facts. The payoff is feeling better and sometimes a work that we are pleased with. A win, win!

I'm glad you like the painting. It sure felt great when I stood back to look at it.

Now, photography can make an old above ground pool look better than it actually does. And, when I'm in it, it becomes my poor woman's version of a negative edge pool, and I'm at a resort in my mind! Hmmm. More wordplay...

Virtual hugs to you and yours!

Jeane Myers said...

yes we do, and yes we can! a little bit of negativity can go a long way and is not all bad, but when it keeps us from moving forward it can become a poison for sure! this is such a rich painting Melinda - so well done xo

laura said...

Just what I needed to see and read! After about a month of not painting at all (except for a few small halfhearted disasters), I'm heading to New Mexico next week for a workshop. we'll go to Ghost Ranch, and I'll be thinking of your painting--and of no ANTs! Thank you!

Melinda said...

Hello Jeane!
Thank you so much. I know you understand. You are an inspiration to me to keep going because you model going forward, consistently and beautifully.

Glad you like the painting too. :-)

Virtual hugs.

Melinda said...

Hello Laura,
Welcome! I'm glad this resonates with you. It's a tough thing we do, this art thing. But, I see from visiting your blog that you are very successful with your watercolors. Very nice work.

I am so excited for you regarding your upcoming adventure. Ten days?! Wow. It's going to be a fantastic trip. I don't think there is any way not to have a fantastic trip in New Mexico. When they say it's enchanted, it's an understatement.

Have a wonderful time. I'll look forward to seeing how you are inspired by the land. Hope you get a chance to have a meal at the Abiquiu Inn. Yum.

I'll be thinking positive art thoughts for you. And, I'll be smiling toward the northeast, from here.

Thank you for commenting. Stop by anytime.

Anonymous said...

Hi Melinda! I read Dr. Amen's book last year. He has done some ground breaking research. I was having an ANT infestation too. Still need to fumigate from time to time.

I've been swimming all summer. I've found that daily cardio keeps my spirits lifted. And I sleep better.

I imagine "Ghost Ranch Cliff" has a strong wall presence, as do the rest of your striking works. Very nice!

Melinda said...

Hello Silvina!
Oh, those darn ANTs. They show up everywhere nowadays. Yet, we can handle them. We have ART!

I'm so glad you have swimming available too. It is very soothing to my mind to be in water.

While it is a small painting, it does pack a punch of strong color! It's inspired me to start a larger painting similar to this one.

Stay tuned.

And, best wishes with your upcoming show--and all that you do.

Caryl said...

I suffer with PTSD so thank you for those links that was really interesting.

Melinda said...

Thank you, Caryl, for visiting! I hope you'll come by again sometime.

I understand about PTSD. Have you heard of the treatment, EMDR, to help heal this?

Wishing you peace.