The act of making a painting is, for many artists, a meditation. "Being in the moment", I suppose, is the current phrase which describes the meditative state. It doesn't really matter if a painting is accomplished in one brilliant stroke, or slowly nurtured and coaxed into form over a long period of time. The time the painting takes to arrive on the surface of your canvas is irrelevant. But being In the moment is not irrelevant to the process. What does matter, to me, is that the meditative state is achieved and the real meat of the painting emerges from that place. In fact it may be an undeniable requirement. If we arrive at that meditative state while we are in the process of painting, the main objective of the act has been satisfied. I say that as if I am making a pronouncement, true for all painters throughout all time. Of course i don't mean it. I really mean to say, for me, the act of getting into that mindless place leads me to a the most interesting content and form. If I try to force, or use excessive willfulness, or impose my rational mind onto the images taking form at the end of my brush, I will most often meet with a very unsatisfactory result. Lacking soul. Lacking any new ideas. Lacking the energy of discovery. Lacking the grace of surrender.
Today I am working on a painting that has patterned quilt on a bed. I am so pleased to be working on the repeating pattern. It will certainly lead me quickly to that mindless place where I can linger, as long as it takes. I can linger and luxuriate in the mark making process. I can luxuriate in the paint its viscosity, its opacity and its translucency, the smell of the oil, the wax and yes of course, the turpentine.
Painting yes is a luxury inviting all the senses and a quieted mind. I cannot think of a better way to spend the day. And I am grateful that i can and that I do. If you have never tried it, painting, perhaps you will allow yourself the gift of trying it on for size some time.
Here is link to an older painting I am reminded of today. http://www.michel-tsouris.com/art-cards1/respite