Thursday, February 15, 2018

Seeing light and shadow in an art meditation

Go to a place in nature that has both a grand vista and small details to focus on.  During a week spent hiking near Ucluelet on the west coast of British Columbia, Florencia Bay in the Pacific Rim National Park is a perfect choice.

Find a place to stand that has light and shadow, near details and far views. A rocky beach is just right.
Begin with your head to the far left, then move your head to the right VERY SLOWLY--noticing only the lights.

See the way light defines surfaces and textures. Keep slowly moving your head to the right rather than stopping to study the stones.

Keep trying to see only the lights of each object that your gaze passes over.  Pause when your head is turned far to the right.  Close your eyes for a moment and relax the muscles around your eyes.

Open your eyes and this time turn your head to the left VERY SLOWLY gazing only at the darks. Shadow defines form just as light defines surface.   See only the darks as you keep moving your head.

Notice how the dark gives weight and mass to the textures and surfaces you noticed during the first pass of your head from left to right.  Again close your eyes when your head is turned back fully to the left.  Let your attention rest.

Bring your head to center and turn it down.  Open your eyes and let your gaze fall on something small.  Let your eyes move over the object slowly, observing only the lights, then observing only the darks.

Really look deeply into the lights and shadows.  Find smaller and smaller areas of light and shadow.
Close your eyes and rest for a moment.

Open your eyes and expand your vision to take in the entire vista you originally selected. You will feel an artistic flow of  lights and shadows.  Everything will be more vivid and visually unique when you train your vision with this art meditation.

This is the technique I use when painting the images on the Journey Oracle cards.

For each oracle card I began by letting my gaze pass over a natural object--first slowly to the right seeing only the lights, then slowly to the left seeing only the darks.  I would close my eyes briefly between each pass. I would next look deeply into the object to see the smallest details, and finally let my gaze expand to see the entire surface.  Only then would I begin to paint.

This Oracle card represents the Path in the Journey Oracle deck.  And this art meditation is a path.