Sunday, September 13, 2015

Art as Meditation

It's been so long since I blogged but I feel compelled to write about my art experience yesterday. I've always wanted to do one of those art and wine classes... a glass of wine, a guided painting class, but never had the opportunity before yesterday.

I found a series of classes through Artbeat San Diego called the "creative sanctuary" series. You paint on a bluff overlooking the ocean to the sound of waves, to use painting as meditation, and to bring more self-awareness to our life through positive affirmations. Sounded right up my alley after spending 10 weeks overseas in my urban-jungle home country! So I invited my mum friends to join me for a mum's creative day out instead of our usual nights out.

Sunset Cliffs, Point Loma
I got there early enough to pick our spot, and I immediately felt the calming effects of the ocean breeze. It was a mighty hot day, but we were thankfully shaded. I am by no means an artist, so I was a little apprehensive about the whole process. Kristel, the founder of Artbeat and our guide for the afternoon, made me feel very at ease. Once everyone arrived, we sat in a circle and she talked about the third eye chakra, our focus for the painting we were about to do. Everything she said resonated with me and definitely set the mood for the painting.

We then found our seats again, and she went around with a deck of affirmation cards, and had us all shuffling the deck and picking out a card while she got our paints set up. 

Again, the message on the card resonated with me, and I thought to myself, "I'm meant to be here, I should be doing this". As a stay at home mum, I often feel guilty to take time away from my family, especially with a very active toddler, but as I sat there with my fellow mums enjoying the environment and the afternoon kid-free, I felt my inner cup filling up again. We needed to do this for ourselves!
Starter paint... blue was the color of the day/chakra
Kristel then lead us through the steps of creating our painting, mixing gray for our outlines, drawing our horizon line, and drawing our mountains. Of course, being no artist, it felt really strange picking up a brush and free forming images on canvas, but I had to trust the process.

Mandy, the resident artist in our group, and her mountain range
Next came color blocking. First by painting the water, then the mountains. Kristel suggested colors for us to use, but we were free to mix and paint what felt right to us. Some chose the straight blue for the water from the paint provided, others mixed. Same thing for the mountains and sky. I was surprised to find myself using lighter, brighter colors while Mandy was surprised hers took on a darker hue.

Briana and Mandy at work with color blocking, my canvas in the center
We learned how to add depth to our painting by dabbing and flicking. I was surprised to see how quickly all our inner artists came out. We were so absorbed in our work that we didn't even notice that the sun was setting on the horizon, but I took a quick break to capture the moment.

Sunset over the Pacific

With the sun setting and us losing light, I did hurry a bit to try to finish my painting. At the point the sun set, I only had some finishing touches to add to my painting and to finish up my orb. And thus, my interpretation of "Clear View", was complete. I was again surprised by the colors I ended up using, especially the yellows, oranges and reds, which have never been "my" colors. I felt so at peace and content, and excited that I had created something from nothing. It was an amazing feeling.

3.5 hours later, my painting is complete!
As mums, we often forget to feed our own souls, and I definitely felt like the time I spent creating this piece made me a better, calmer, happier mother because my soul is nourished. We'll be back!

Proud and happy mamas!