Tag Archive | Mindful art

I attach summer here for you – a three-minute #Icon

Harbour Bay by Emily Marten

Harbour Bay by Emily Marten

Step out of clock time. Gaze at this painting without thinking. Just for three minutes. When your mind wanders bring it back to the painting. Try and gaze at it with open awareness, allowing whatever emerges to emerge.

The original painting by young artist Emily Marten is a square. The whole painting is, like the square, harmoniously balanced. What the artist has been able to do is look beneath the surface of the houses and the people, and draw out the colour of the emotions felt on this sunny, windswept day in St Ives, Cornwall.

If you ever wondered what the colours of joy and play and happiness and hope are, these are the colours, normally hidden away. It’s as if the artist has been looking down from where there are no clouds, reached in to the heart of the moment and pulled out the feelings of this place by the sea, with the special light.

I have been to this painting in real life, and that is where I am taken back. I can almost breathe again the happiness of walking on the beach, feeling the sand beneath my toes, the wind in my hair, and the sand on my face. Perhaps the sting of drying salt water on my arms. I am sure I can feel that.

As a painting it is like the Tardis. It reminds us that we are bigger on the inside than the outside. it’s called Harbour Bay. There in Harbour Bay I feel safe and free. I have been taken to that place within.

Let the painting befriend you. The artist has attached summer to the canvas for us.

One-Minute Icon – Guitar of the seas #conservation

Guitar of the seas

Guitar of the seas

Step out of clock time for one minute. Gaze at the painting. What do you see? Art like poetry helps move us from doing to being, from freighted thinking to open awareness, gets behind our defences…allows hidden things to surface in our minds.

What do you see? What came into your mind?

I spent the afternoon with some friends at the SEA LIFE London Aquarium which does a huge amount for marine conservation. It was amazing to see all the unbelievable creatures…but I was also shocked at story after story of how we are threatening their ecological future, from sea horses to turtles.

When I looked at the stingrays I saw guitars of the seas.

The earliest example of mindfulness?

The earliest example of mindfulness?

On the Granta website is an essay by Casper Henderson called ‘Barely Imagined Beings’ (Book of same name just out). In it he shows An image from the Chauvet cave paintings, which are over 30,000 years old.

 It is a scene of lions about to attack. Casper quotes from David Quammen’s book (Monster of God: The Man-Eating Predator in the Jungles of History and the Mind), who writes that the scene has been painted not with fear but ‘a skilled hand, a calm heart,and an attentive, reverential eye.’

 Is this the earliest evidence for the universal human capacity for mindfulness, through mindful art?