How do you practice mindfulness?
I’m currently reading Mindfulness: 25 Ways To Live In The Moment Through Art by Christophe Andre. Hearing much about mindfulness and the buzz that surrounds it, I picked up this book in Birmingham Airport… it seemed perfect. Mindfulness AND Art?!
I had no expectations of this book, but it is truly beautifully crafted. Andre uses paintings both modern and of the masters to illustrate his concepts and teachings. He doesn’t overstate the benefits of mindfulness (which I believe is a trap that many authors have fallen into) instead he demonstrates that Mindfulness is not a way out of life’s problems – but a way of being present in a way which fosters self/other compassion, and a clear-eyed awareness of the miracle of being in the moment, existing.
Even reading it makes you become more mindful… absorbing the images and words, looking at details of paintings over and over again – it creates some kind of tangible awareness which is all too hard to find in this fast-living world.
I have not only come to love the paintings more, but understand them in a different and calm dimension.
I started to think about my own practice and when I have the chance to be mindful when I create. This has led to a series of map pieces. I don’t think about the colours or the lines or the composition really. I simply paint and be.
How are you Mindful when creating?
Observation of the Welsh Landscape begins to take form into a Painting that balances somewhere between the realms of figuration and abstraction.
I start off with small thumbnail sketches through direct observation and then work them into a composition. What happens from there is a response process. I begin to layer paint and just respond to the colours, marks and forms that have went before. The way I paint relies heavily on intuition, and there are times that I have to just trust in my process. This then creates a kind of constructed experimental landscape, that’s organic and natural. I try to keep things gestural and expressive, to convey and essence of the landscape as well as translate the transient, fleeting nature of creation.
Untitled ll, acrylic on canvas, 6ft x 3.2ft, £210
(see Paintings section for more info as well as other works)
“If you hear a voice within you say ‘you cannot paint,’ then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced.” -Vincent Van Gogh
When I come to a block in my current painting progress, I always look back at the old to try and use it as a way to free up some ideas. I decided to look back at some of the old aerial views that I was creating in 2012-late 2013. Although in this period of time there were inevitable stumbling blocks and problems I encountered, I found that it was a very encouraging and promising time for my painting progress. I developed so much as an artist and learned a lot about paint in a relatively short amount of time. Two of my favourite studies were two of the first small Aerial Views paintings I created. At this time, I was heavily inspired by Artist Anna Warsop and used her work as a foundation for my own. Her work is so beautiful and subtle, as well as painting she creates some striking prints too.
Check them out @ http://www.annawarsop.com/index.html
Aerial View l was a response to a flight experience of my own, memory, intuition and being inspired by the work of Warsop. This is a monumental piece in my practice, as it really marked the first move away from painting into maps, to creating direct aerial views.
Aerial View ll was a piece I created soon after, and was very much based on a flight from Ireland- Wales, hence all the more local colours. I learned to use accents of colours to represent buildings, structures etc. The idea is that the landscape was transient and fleeting worked very well. I tried to incorporate clouds to give a tangible sense of depth and add movement to the painting. I used layers of acrylic canvas with a glazing agent and worked quite slowly. I painted onto to the canvas in some areas, and in others I painted directly onto old maps I had torn up and glued on, furthering and adding an extra dimension to the ‘aerial view’ concept.