Saturday, August 25, 2012

Late summer grove

I worked on the watercolor more. you can see the initial layers below. It was quite blue dominant. I added layers and warmed it up. The colors are reminding me of end of summer dryness. they are all around me. I do not know if it is really finished. I wanted to use colored pencils the sharpen the grove, but then stopped myself. Was I afraid or am I really done? I do not know at this point.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Awareness of Heart and being Real, reflection from meditation group I am leading

To be real is a process of showing up. It means to be transparent in the sense of being genuine, not hidden by the various images, concepts, or ideas of who we. We just are, present, open, and vulnerable to sensing our experience moment by moment. Our consciousness is clear; the mental structures of the mind are seen through for what they are: representations of past experiences that obscure our awareness of the Heart, the innermost part of us, our vitality and essence that we could call “True Nature”, or consciousness.
When we begin to look at our life as a flow of experience, when we begin to self-reflect on what is happening and start to ask questions about who we are and what we are experiencing, we enter into a territory we are not that familiar with. We are beginning to examine with our awareness the substrate of our experience, out of which the world as we experience it by the mind emerges: our consciousness.
What consciousness is or is not is difficult to explain from a scientific point of view because it cannot be measured. It can be felt, as many meditators present and past have reported. For the purpose of examining our subjective experience, we assume that consciousness is an invisible medium that allows us to “know our experience”. Those who have become intimate with consciousness report it to be a dynamic presence, and a source of life enhancing qualities that are able to influence the mind to dissolve its rigid structures and expand our awareness.  We can assume that as human beings we have the potential to live “beyond to boundary of our conditioned mind” and that we can have life from this expanded awareness and express the innate qualities available to us to enhance life for us and others.
The process of learning to be real is not about justification of our mind and it’s sense of self.  The content of the mind, the thoughts and judgments we have about our experience is looked at as an obscuration, or a veil, that distorts our ability to experience our consciousness without conditioning, our Heart. 
To be real requires love that is very interested in what is happening along with healthy dose of self-honesty: truth. The combination of our curious, open, accepting and loving awareness that is focused to find what has Heart and meaning within our experience is what buddhists call “Wisdom of discrimination”. The capacity to discriminate with love and honesty separates illusion from truth. 
As you inquire into and discriminate your experience, you could reach a boundary where the knowing of the mind meets the mystery of not knowing what is beyond it. If you can be in this place, you could rest in what christian mystics speak of as “Cloud of Unknowing”. We are then sensing into the Heart, our essence within us. And as we sense with our  awareness this innermost essence, we could begin to discover its life giving  Heart qualities that are always available to us. We could feel the flow of presence, peace, love, inner guidance,  meaning, preciousness, and many other qualities to pour into our awareness and affect our mind to follow the Heart.
Usually we touch into this inner place in meditations when the mind is quiet, or when involved in something relaxing, but it usually is not long lasting. The mind returns to its habitual pathways. But with an intent to inquire into the habits of the mind through the practice of being real, this inner Heart can be experienced for longer periods of time and become the source of our sense of self in a deeply transformed and immediate way. What happens is that “Being Real” and “True Nature” coalesce and we feel undivided in our experience and in our presence.  We feel whole.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Work in progress

Under-painting, two layers of watercolors. I am working on the Boga board (see the previous post), and I am painting on Arches hot press 140 lb watercolor paper.  I do not know where this is going yet and I am spending quite a bit of time looking at it. The large format is bit inhibiting, but I am intent to push myself to stay with it. 

I adjusted the photo saturation to black and white so that I can evaluate better what is developing. I can see that I have lot of middle value shapes and the piece needs dark values. I am thinking the area below the three upper vertical shapes in particular would create more interest. Well, I imagine I will find out when I start layering more colors and shapes.

Finding a great solution to watercolor paper not buckling

I have been wanting to work on a larger scale with watercolors. But the trouble was always with the paper doing its thing when wet. I have found this great invention on the web that I want to share with you. Not only it keeps the paper stretched, but it is quick to accomplish and it provides a wonderful support for putting the board onto and easel for viewing it from a distance. I imagine, this would work very well with acrylics as well. The only limitation is the size. There is only one: half sheet, which is about 22" x 15". But for me, that is fine, as I am expanding from quarter sheet format. I suggest that you take time to view Gayle Weisfield's video on "youtube" and look at her web site. Below are the links.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Thunder Spirits

"Thunder Spirits",  13"x10" watercolor, ink, absorbent ground, colored pencils
Beginning of July,  there was a week that we had the most incredible thunderstorm, lasting about 24 hours. The lightning was all around and thunder accompanied to show. The community power substation was hit by a lightning and so we had no power as well for six hours. When I started this painting, I had no idea that this is how it would come out. It was only in the finishing of it that the impressions of the thunderstorm came back to me and how dramatic it really was.
I used watercolor wash initially, followed by using black ink to paint and dribble shapes in. I did not like it and so I used Golden absorbent ground with a palette knife to layer it on. Before it was set, I painted more watercolor in. It sort of blended with the ground. When that dried, I used watercolors again and finished with color pencils. The pencils were able to overlay some of the dark remaining spaces. I even pulled out a stamp of a leaf and trees were put in.