Painting as Meditation

Landscape Painting

I recently watched a video by Frank Clark on YouTube about Acrylic painting. It was an introductory video filled with great tips on how to paint. During the forty-five minute video Clark teaches you how to paint a landscape. This is the painting I did while following his instructions. Clark shows you just how easy painting can be. If you get a chance to watch his videos I encourage you to take the time. He is a funny, down to earth guy, with a lot of character. Landscape paintings, in my opinion, draw you into the painting. So I put two little people in the painting because I couldn’t help myself. One of the things Clark teaches is not to get hung up on adding lots of details. At one point he says, and I am paraphrasing here, if you want a photo, take a picture, this is a painting it doesn’t need to be so detailed. Remember the expression, “The Devil is in the details.” It’s a good lesson for newbie painters like myself to remember not to get bogged down in detail work! Ironically, the expression is a corruption of a much older expression, “God is in the detail,” which is an expression meant to encourage doing your work well. The phrase, “the Devil is in the details” only became common in the 1990’s.

In this painting I used a wide brush for most of the work. I did however, raise the mid-ground too high in this scene. I wanted to keep it lower but, hey, the paint gets away from you sometimes. Next time I will try a small brush and keep the mid-ground smaller to create more distance in the painting, or at least that is my hope. Right now I am using these canvas, stapled, boards to paint on, but when I run out of them I plan to switch to a thick acid-free paper. One of the nice things about acrylics is that you can paint on paper easily. It just needs to be a little sturdy and acid-free protects your artwork. Paper is cheaper obviously, but I am also looking forward to trying it out because I suspect the paint will bleed into the paper more which I think I will like. Canvas doesn’t really draw in the paint from what I can tell. Michael’s had a sale so I bought some large canvases but I don’t know what I would do with all that space yet so I am going to wait before I use them. I found myself a little intimidated by their size, but I didn’t let that stop me from buying them. The canvas doesn’t care what I put on it, lol. It’s funny how some people, like myself can be intimidated by such insignificant things. I don’t feel uncomfortable at all visiting a sick person, or performing a funeral, but painting on a giant canvas made me a little anxious. I have heard similar things from friends before. I never understood why people don’t like MRI machines, for example, but I have listened to people share their anxiousness about them dozens of times. I suppose it has more to do with why you are there then the machine itself, that would make sense. However people usually say its because they don’t like being in the small space rather than a fear of an illness. The MRI, in my mind is a life saving tool, its not something that should cause anxiousness. Yet it does, for what ever reason, it unsettles people. I say all of this because there is value in noticing how you are feeling, calling attention to it, and moving towards a healthy perspective of your feelings rather than indulging anxiousness. We can’t always get out of those feelings but we can take notice of them and practice self-care through any variety of coping skills. Painting, embroidery, Pickleball, meditation, are just a few of mine.

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