Design with Mindful Intention

When most people look at paintings, the immediate thing that usually happens is that they try to figure it out and make sense of it.

What is it?

What am I looking at?

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This is especially true for abstract art. In my observations and growing understanding of this very human characteristic, I’ve taken this notion and incorporated it into my art-making process.

When I paint, I begin from a place of mindful intention and awareness. I paint what speaks to me from within and go on an adventure with my paint and brush.

And then it hit me.

What if my paintings embraced this phenomenon of making people stop, think, and observe?

In itself, this is a practice of mindfulness. This is meditation. Mindful art is a great way to infuse your busy, daily life with a conscious reminder toΒ stop, think, and observe.

Mindful art is a wonderful way to beautify your surroundings in an intentional and purposeful manner. Mindful art is key to helping our minds reconnect with our surroundings and come back to the present moment.

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With that, I’m thinking of new ways to create a movement of mindful art. If you’ve got any great ideas, I’d love to hear from you! Send me your thoughts in the comments below! πŸ™‚

 

 

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New art project

Canvas stretching! Not what I had in mind but oh, well. I guess this means I should go back to reading for now. I inadvertently bought the wrong size canvas cloth for my new art project, which was super annoying! I rarely go elsewhere for my materials and usually go to Blick Art for my art stuff, but I was under a time crunch and thought, meh, what the hell? An art store is an art store. BIG MISTAKE. So I drove out to the nearest other art store to purchase the cloth and guess what? It was the wrong size and to my dismay, when I asked the staff member a question, she said, “Oh, I don’t know anything about stretching canvases” right after she handed me the cloth. O.o I should have known to trust my spidey senses then and there.

Never again!

I’m happy to say that I later went to Blick Art to get what I needed. And I’m so so glad I did–I just wish that there was one closer to me.

Check out the awesome stretcher bars I bought:

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Luckily, YOU don’t have to deal with what I just did. Blick Art is currently having a huge sale and as a Blick Art affiliate, I’ve got you. Click any of the links below to get your offer:

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❀ happy art making!

 

When did I become an artist?

I’ve been heavily awestruck recently by the wave of artistic events and happenings in my life that I just found myself asking this big question–when did I become an Artist?!

No, seriously.

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Mind Games No. 06 at University Art store in Sacramento, CA

 

I started asking close friends and loved ones this personal thought more recently and they all laughed at me as if I was the last person to figure it out. Yes, you are an Artist. Didn’t you already know that?

Maybe the reason why it hasn’t been that obvious to me is that I’ve been many things in my life so far–student, academician, clinician, researcher, trainer, diagnostic consultant–but none have been related to me being an artist. I was always just meddling with the arts on the side and making artworks when I had time to spare or as a hobby. It wasn’t the main focus of my life. After all, my nostalgic upbringing has promoted my love of the arts as something that I should mention to others as an interest or OTHER skill that I possess, but definitely not my main identity.

But now, I feel that the wind of life is drifting me off to a new, untrodden path. This seems to be the story of my life, by the way. I have a plan in mind that is neat and orderly and precise–yet the winds of change remind me without hesitation that there may be other plans for me. I am currently taking time away from working as a clinical psychologist and now focusing on making my artistic endeavors come to fruition. I’ve waited and waited so long to do this and now that I have completed my training and gone through the circus of academia, I feel that I owe it to the other side of me–my creative brain–to go in full force and start working towards my artistic goals.

Don’t get me wrong–I am scared as H E C K. I don’t know anyone else offhand who is willing to give it all up for the dream. But I’ve had this nagging comment in the back of my mind about why I couldn’t. That I would not succeed. That what I had at hand was the best that I could. And how I could do no better than this.

But I’m a Taurus and I’m as stubborn as they come. So here I go with all my might. ♉️

Loops

I haven’t written in a while and thought it would be good to catch up!

I also forgot to write about the recent artwork series I have created called Mind Games. I presented it as part of second Saturday in August and have since been painting additional new pieces to add to the collection. The Mind Games series is quite distinct from my previous artworks because of the amount of negative space that pervades. Each subject matter is suspended in a blank white backdrop that almost keeps it trapped in place. As for the colorful strands of objects in the canvas, they are left to the viewer’s interpretation.

Here’s some behind-the-scenes look at the first piece:

 

And the outcome of this experiment:

 

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To attempt to describe this work would only fall flat. But I will give you this, dear reader:

The feeling you get when words are simply not enough to express your innermost feelings of need.

That twisted pressure you feel when you’re holding onto something that both nurtures you and pains you.

The circular, nonsensical train of thought you end up having that goes on and on without resolution.

Those secret and personal negotiations you make with your soul that contradicts your lifelong pursuit of happiness.

That stubborn, bullheaded manner you fall back into when you hold something so close that it yearns to leave.

These paintings depict the feeling of being twisted and pulled into various directions. How tightly wound up our minds and emotions can be. How we hope to unravel the knots.

This is Mind Games.

Back to basics

I’ve put away my palette knives after two whole years of using them primarily to make lines, cuts, and texture on my paintings. I never knew I’d love using knives (of all things!) to express myself on canvas. It was pretty fun until I just got tired of the angst and grime in my work. But now, I’ve figured out a way to use it in moderation and as a complement to my methodology. While my paintings will hopefullyΒ never have to be as dark as it used to be, I’m able to employ what I’ve learned to my advantage and add layers of depth to my work.

Here’s some early research and trial for a new art commission I am working on.

This week, I was so excited to finally spend a whole day painting at my new art studio at The Compound Gallery in Oakland!

Not quite done yet but will be tackling it further this coming week. Looking to add more shades of brown and tone down the oranges. Thoughts?

Flows like Water

I’ve been doing a lot more watercolor paintings. I must admit, it is pretty sweet. I have been learning to work with the “permanence” of the material and use it to my advantage. Β It’s been a lot more freeing to be able to work with watercolor, something I did not expect. With acrylic, I’ve been happy to keep moving the paint around to my liking. There’s something to be learned from the restricted nature of watercolor. Like I almost have to make do with what else I’ve got–how can I layer this color, make a different shape on top of this paint, make this painting tell a story/convey an emotion with as little movement as I can?

 

 

 

I’ve also been reading up on color theory and how colors influence people’s moods, etc. There’s research out there showing both support and also inconclusive results at this time, but more likely than not, people are subconsciously affected by the colors they see or experience and we just don’t have a good metric for quantifying it at present. Whatever. This is all subjective anyway. I know how yellow makes me feel, and I agree that it is the color of my inner spirit–vibrant, energetic, and optimistic. Although I don’t really feel like that right now, I continue to hold this color as the visible representation of my essence. But you gotta admit, there’s something pretty drop-dead-gorgeous and poetic about those green and black watercolor painting samples, right?

I was inspired to test my watercolor skills further and decided to make some fun pieces to give others. Here’s a watercolor painting on a birthday card I recently made! πŸ˜€

 

For now, I think I’ll keep exploring where this watercolor adventure takes me. One important thing I’ve learned this year so far is that I must do the things that make me feel good, purposeful, important, and whole. If it isn’t any of those things, it has no place in my home. So, like water, I will keep flowing and go where it takes me. I’m up for my next adventure. πŸ™‚

 

 

Worth

Hello world! I know, I’ve been slow with my updates. July has been a busy month of work training and transitions for me. Hope you didn’t miss me too much! πŸ™‚

I have a confession to make–I’ve been painting a bit day by day, that is…at least as much as I can squeeze in here and there. Lately I’ve had to battle just finding the time and energy to fit everything into my schedule. It’s been tough to carve out regular play time and painting for me when all I can think about is my warm, cuddly bed. >.< You may be wondering why I would have to “make a confession” about painting. Well, it’s because sometimes, I create things that I don’t necessarily end up admiring or satisfied with. It’s a bad, bad feeling that is unsettling to me. And I am hesitant to say that this is something that has happened lately.

In Search Of

You may or may not recall that I had a painting titled “In Search of” from way back in 2015. Well. The story behind that painting was not the best. This was back in the day when I painted alongside some friends at an old art studio. One of them was going through some tough times and was not doing particularly well at the time. There I was, minding my own biz, when all of a sudden, this person became frustrated as they saw my work and picked up a brush and proceeded to make big, red paint marks across my work. “There!” they said, “Don’t hold back! Isn’t that so much better?” and walked away like they did me a favor.

I was aghast. I didn’t move. I couldn’t move..? I looked up at my canvas and didn’t know what just happened. I found myself breathing in and out louder and more effortful. I looked at my other friend and they looked completely horrified. And I don’t remember the exact details of what happened after this, perhaps I just blacked out or don’t want to remember. But at some point I ran out to my car with my phone in hand and clutched it tightly. In a panic, I searched through phone numbers of dear friends far, far from me and proceeded to call and hope for someone to answer at 10PM on a week night. Two or three unanswered phone calls down the list, and I finally found someone who picked up. I told them what happened. How silly it was that I was crying about something that sounded pretty dumb (after all, I was crying about someone painting over my painting?) but felt completely real and painful. I don’t have many people I consider close friends, but the ones I do have guarded with my life. I was reassured by my dear friend that it was okay to feel this way. I went back in to the studio to work on my painting. Like nothing happened–they didn’t think they did anything wrong and didn’t believe they should apologize at the time (but later did). I cleared up the awful marks and painted over them with big, pink and blue swirls and made dark black strokes to distract from the other section of the painting that was affected.

I have always hated this painting.

I don’t have a lot of paintings that I keep with me that I end up loathing. But this one is particularly pisses me right off whenever I look at it. To me, it is a reminder of very difficult times. It takes me back to feeling lost, confused about who I am in this world, my worth, my goals, and what the future holds for me. When I say that most of my original paintings are not for sale–it is because they still hold such strong emotions that I have felt in the past, and I am not yet willing to let them all go. Yes, I’m not afraid to share that I’ve held onto a lot of sadness, pain, and loneliness. At some point I thought that it was just a part of me since it kept happening in sequential fashion without haste. I like to think of myself as a hopeless optimist and a future-oriented person, but I remember what I have gone through and feel that it will always hold me captive at times. Writing about this opens up some old wounds, but I will be okay in time.

And so I finally decided, heck, it would be a waste to just get rid of this painting. So I recently decided to finally face the beast and paint over it. I stopped short of succeeding in ameliorating the pain. I ended up with this.

Love on the Brain-2Love on the Brain-3Love on the Brain-4Love on the Brain-5Love on the Brain-6Love on the Brain-7Love on the Brain-8Love on the Brain-9Love on the Brain-10

I still don’t know how I feel about it. And I don’t know why I just recently decided to take this new project on. Perhaps I haven’t really felt all too well about myself these days; Β that painting stared and stared at me at my living room floor, and became a reminder of something I knew all too well. When I see this new artwork, I feel like I might not have succeeded in making it all better. Instead, I just feel like I tried to hide it from the world and made it worse. To me, it now looks like what it feels like to YELL maddeningly in colors. I don’t know if I will be displaying this piece…ever. I guess I still hate it. Other people who have seen it disagree.

 

but then again, these are people I love.

-D