Getting Balanced

I’ve felt somewhat out of sorts lately and have been focusing on getting myself back on even ground.  To do that, I’ve been meditating and learning how to trust my instincts again.  A healthy, mostly vegan diet along with more exercise and physical therapy on old injuries has contributed to getting my  body in better shape. My mind has been occupied with new ideas and philosophies, I’ve been working on old wounds there too, so that just left my soul. Body, mind and spirit are part of the whole and I realized I’ve been neglecting this last part for some time now.

I had been drawing mandalas and coloring intricate patterns as part of a meditative effort to balance my mind. One day I noticed I had used rainbow hues every time I sat down to color; page after page in my book was full of bold and brilliant color.  Suddenly it occurred to me, without even thinking about it, I had been choosing chakra colors. Chakras are thought to be centers of spiritual power within the body; if I ever needed a hint on where to focus my spiritual attention, this seemed a good place to start.

In an effort to blend my art and my soul in a more purposeful way, I set out to paint the 7 chakras. With each one, I focused on the corresponding color and let my muse take ahold of my brush. I really had no idea where I was going with these, but decided to trust the process and see what happened.

I started with the root chakra (red) and progressed upwards from there. Each one became more and more complex, unfolding before me. As I worked through these small canvases, I noticed a change in myself.  I felt lighter, happier, more relaxed. Information came my way and seemed to reinforce what I was learning about myself during the process. Even difficult issues leveled out and didn’t knock me out of balance.

I finished the last one the other day, and as I hung them together for the first time I noticed the changes from one to another.  From simple to more complex, one flows into the next. I think of this series as a personal workshop for my soul, an exercise in returning my energy centers to a state of equilibrium.

But because of the blog scroll, to show them to you in the order in which I painted them would be to misalign them.  So, to counter this, here they are in a top to bottom orientation. Just to note, they are opposite of the order in which they were created.

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Alone in a field of poppies

Seems like the holidays always throw me for a loop.  It’s such a social time of the year and I get wiped out by all the parties and visits and, well, people.  I like people, just spaced out and in smaller doses.  I’m pretty good at the small talk, it’s not like I’m in the corner with a wild eyed stare, but after a few months of seemingly endless events, I need a break. The American holiday season seems like full bore, pedal to the metal intensity.  I like to move at a much slower pace and sometimes find myself white knuckling this time of year.  Classic introvert, that’s me.

I finally got a chance to get into the studio and took the opportunity to take a trip down memory lane.  I was hunting through my snapshots for something to paint and came across a wonderful photo.  I took it last year on the fourth of July.

Since my son was small, on every Independance Day, we would drive to a local field to watch the annual fireworks display.  In the beginning, it was just the 3 of us, in the bed of our pick up truck.  We’d arrive early and eat a picnic dinner while waiting for the summer sun to set and the show to begin.

A few years back, we invited some friends to join us and it turned into an event.   We all park in a row, set out a pot -luck picnic, lawn chairs, a cooler or two of beer and it’s an instant party.   The kids set off store bought fireworks on the road while we laugh, eat and have small town good time on the edge of the farmer’s field.

The field in question has been, in turns, planted with mint, grass and last year, of all things, poppies.  It was stunningly beautiful and really added a new dimension to our annual 4th of July lawn party.  I took this picture of my friend’s daughter, just before the sun began to set.  It’s been a favorite of mine ever since.

Here’s the sketch:

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Laying in some color:

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And the final:

Alone in field of poppies

Alone in field of poppies