Even though I’m a painter, I have a strange fascination with words…

I think some words are alive, they seem to grow and become energetically charged.“Gratitude” has a kind of life force.  I think when repeated out loud or as a silent mantra it grows, gets plump, bold, beautiful, colourful, expands, begins to ripen becomes tangible, tactile and delicious.
"a mystery" oil on canvas 36"x36" SOLD
As a recipient of gratitude you can physically feel it.  When others stand with you, show up, lend a hand, create support, smile at you, hug you, and look you in the eye.  We can hear it even when the word itself isn’t spoken, in kind and encouraging words, in curiosity and interest.  We can embody gratitude as it can be expressed in our actions.There is another word that never tires of repetition but only grows in depth and meaning when you discuss it, share it, pass it along, and try to live by it.Have you heard of  “Ubuntu?” (and I’m not referring to the free OS system)It is a South African philosophy, best described by Desmond Tutu in the video below – but I’ll make an attempt.

The powerful message behind this idea was a tool used to challenge Apartheid.  We are all one, woven tightly together, interlinked so that when one of us suffers, we all suffer and when one of us shines, we all shine.   Nelson Mandela lived Ubuntu, forgiveness was his bright light.

Ubuntu encourages us to stand up for one another and support each other.  It asks us to celebrate our friend’s successes, encouraging them to shine brightly for when they shine, so then do we.

We need to be ourselves and express that self to the best of our ability.  We need each other to be bold and be bright to create this amazing tapestry of humanity; beautiful, strong and life supporting.

Gratitude & Ubuntu are interlaced in my world and growing stronger.  These ideas were forefront when I was painting  “this will the day.”  Here below.

"this will be the day" oil on canvas 48"x48"
So I’ll repeat, and help them both grow.  Thank-you.Thank-you for coming out to my art opening, for calling me, sending me notes of encouragement from afar, thank-you for talking to me about my paintings, thank-you for purchasing my artwork and thank-you for reading this blog. I am so motivated to paint right now – I’m bursting with ideas and energy, painting makes me feel shiny – thank-you for that incredible gift.

Namaste (The divine light in me bows deeply to the divine in you).
Marlene

Ubuntu - Desmond Tutu
Video – Ubuntu explained by Desmond Tutu – 2:15 minutes.

“Creative muscles”

Do you feel like something is missing?  I do, or I did.

Beauty is being fully alive!I take pretty good care of myself, I’m a yogi and I’ve learned that to deal with stress I need to move my body, eat good things, get some sleep, and plan for a little down time.  January always reminds me that self-discipline is essential.  I look forward to the renewal of my regime after all the holiday ruckus and overload (which I also think is essential).  I’m back to a regular practice, eat my oatmeal and hemp hearts, and back off on the indulgences.  However, for years I felt like I was striving for something that no amount of exercise or green veggies could satisfy.  Like there was a part of me still lacking.  I figured it out.It took some time to embrace the idea because of GUILT.   It is self-indulgent, could be seen as a waste of time, not very “productive” and brought (brings) me a whole bunch of joy.

Creativity.

It is relevant in January to talk about flexing or stretching muscles.  I’m not sure who coined the phrase “flexing your creative muscles,” but they were on to something. Strengthening, lengthening, becoming aware of, moving, exercising all that creative energy that each and every one of us possess is essential and it takes some discipline.  We need (underscore) an outlet for it.  It needs to come to the surface, for me and I bet for you.

It is key to my happiness therefore key to my health.

If the prospect of being happier and healthier doesn’t win you over, here is some of my research; creativity in your business, workplace, and relationships is the most essential resource you have leading to greater productivity and a better ability to solve problems.

Art- making (and you can define that in so many way) lights our fires, gets the juices flowing, gives us energy, makes us do the happy dance, propels us forward, and moves us out of our comfort zones.

Alright, enough already, you might be saying, “I don’t draw.”

Art-making comes in many shapes and forms.   Seth Godin wrote a whole book about it, “The Icarus Deception.”

“Seizing new ground, making connections between people or ideas, working without a map – these are works of art and if you do them, you are an artist, regardless of whether you wear a smock, use a computer, or work with others all day long.”  Seth Godin

 

Doing something new is proven to spark creativity.

I am so sold, so passionate about how fundamentally important it is for human beings to play, to create, and to make stuff for no other reasons than to connect with others and fuel our own happiness – when I think about it, in my late night, deeply philosophical moods, it is what makes us human.

We have a gift – go out and play!  And then move out of your comfort zone and share it, it inspires us all.

Namaste.
Marlene

 

A little bit more . ..

Words  “You are what you practice most.” Richard Carlson

Read “The Icarus Deception” Seth Godin

TED  Doodlers, Unite – Sunni Brown

Music   Norweigan Recycling – “Miracles” a mashup

IMG_0955

BIG picture POV

I used to paint in a small room.  I would sit on an apple box, often up close to the canvas.  The most distance I would have between canvas and me was about 6′ if I leaned back on the counter behind me.
I loved my space.  It was mine. It was messy, warm and my husband installed great speakers so that I could fill the room with sound and sing along sometimes.I never had to clean it up.  I just would walk away, shut the door.  I could get lost in there.Me, the paint and the canvas.

However, sometimes I’d be too close.  There were times when I needed to stand back a little. Take a look from a different view or angle.  I paint in oil so moving wet pieces out into the rest of the house is not an option.

I’d take a photo.   It was an instant snapshot of my work.  As soon as I’d see the image on the small lcd screen, I’d see it differently.  It was simplified.  I could see the lights, the darks and the big shapes, the overall if you will.

underpainting
adding colour
underpainting
adding colour
My life is like this.  My lists of to do’s, commitments, busyness are all good, meaningful, rewarding, and often fun.  BUT, I can overwork it, get stuck in just one area, get tight, and forget about the whole.How to take a snapshot of my life?My Strategies – meditation, planning, day dreaming (yup), tapping into how I’m actually feeling (crazy, I know), spending the time to make timelines, going outside, trying something completely new, getting on my mat –

Then I can get back down into the process, open the door to my messy space and relax in the moment to moment, in the creation….

AND the most effective tool I’ve got, using GRATITUDE as my wide angle lens.

I know paint in a large studio and still take photos of my work – I swear that gratitude creates a big picture pov on life and is responsible for the bigger studio space and the opportunities to continue to share my passions.

Namaste
Marlene

“It’s all just an underpainting until it is done.”  Marlene Lowden

Work in Progress

 

This is a 60” x 60” blank canvas, or it was.
Questions.  How do I start?  Do I have an idea in my head, an image?
This canvas had no direction, no inspiration, no ideas.  I just started.  I needed to do.  In this case I pick up some payne’s gray and some orange and began working with big brushes and big movements.  I needed to paint because it had been awhile, I’m sure you can relate if there is something in your life that you love doing but it happens sporadically.  My husband has caught onto the effect that a blank canvas has on my psyche, therefore he doesn’t mind wandering the isles at Opus, he encourages it.Back to painting.Imperfect action is something I strive for when I paint.  Really, I do.  I want to capture energy, freedom, pure expression and that requires letting go.  I switch my brushes every few minutes, I mix my own colours quickly, often on the wet canvas, I paint with my left hand, purposely going the opposite direction that I’ve been working.  In the beginning stages, I flip the canvas around working from a different point of view.  I flick paint, splatter (everything), and love drips.   I do the happy dance over freakedly awesome “mistakes.”  I’ve even closed my eyes when I’ve felt stuck.
My resistance to painting comes when I know I have a time constraint.  And when I’m in the “zone” it is painful to leave early.  When I’m “there” it is freedom, it is timeless, it is joy, contentment, it is childlike, it is addicting.  Is that bad?  Not sure.  It certainly is not perfection, getting it right, being on target, controlled, or disciplined.  I react to what is there, I respond to what I see and not what I think I see or wanted to see in the first place.  I continue to work like this as much as possible – allowing the painting to unfold, ideas begin to generate about what colour to add or take away, what shapes are working for me and which ones are not.

Playful. Fearless. Freedom.Imperfect action.

So I’ll practice.  I’ll paint more, I’ll pick up the pen, return the call, press send, share how I feel, unroll my mat, walk out the front door, dance, make a multitude of mistakes, be vulnerable and share my work in progress with you.

Namaste.

Marlene

“It’s all just an underpainting until it is done.”Marlene Lowden