Spring Art Meditations

The Green Man

I love spring!  And despite my longing for it all winter, I am still amazed each year by the surge of physical and creative energy that wakes in me as the days warm and the forest wildflowers bloom.

Yesterday and today I have been especially aware of a persistent feeling of deep contentment and a gratitude for ordinary moments (like watching the cat’s natural mindfulness as she sits on cushion by the open window).

Here are some suggestions of art meditations I have found to be “keepers” in my own personal practice. I will post other art meditations throughout the year, but these are ones that nurture the spirit of spring!

Fresh Air Painting:  Take a box of watercolors, some watercolor paper, a pencil, some brushes and water with you on a hike in the woods.  Look for as many kinds of spring ephemeral wildflowers as you can find.  Choose an area to sit and make loose, playful sketches of some of these flowers, and paint them.  Don’t be fussy or driven to make a “perfect” painting. Let the water, sunlight, and wind help you relax and play.  During times when you are waiting for washes of paint to dry, sit being aware of your breathing and practicing being present to the moment.

Begin a Creative Compost Pile:  On a regular basis, spend time doodling, experimenting, improvising, “fishing” for images and inspiration.  These experiments can be visual sketches, creative writing, song lyrics, etc., etc…!  Collect what you make, rejecting and discarding nothing. Trust that from your experiments the fertile soil of your creative garden will be replenished and something unexpected will begin to grow.

Resurrect a “Failed” Art Project – Return to something you created in the past year that was either left unfinished, seemed to come to a dead end, or was rejected by you for some reason or another.  Begin working with it again, transforming it subtly or even radically. Let it be like a seed, or like a bulb that has been dormant in the dark earth but from which now some unexpected new life can burst.  Do not worry about returning to the original intent of the project.  Let your present life add to and change the original piece.  Listen to what the original piece now communicates to you and then, through a new creative engagement with it, make an unexpected response.

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