Outside in the Now

Watercolor Painting by Brian Bailey

Brian Bailey, Pathway, Watercolor, 7.25″ x 5.25″, © 2016

Over the last month, I’ve spent many hours walking through Golden Gate Park and finding quiet spots to draw and paint.  For the painting at left, I had forgotten my pencils so it was started without any drawing as a guide.  This is unusual for me, but I’m happy that I forgot them.  Making an alteration to the way I work can sometimes feel like waking up.  We can become very mechanical in the way we create and in our expectations. Something as simple as forgetting pencils and being forced to solve a problem in a new way can be very helpful at unhitching the past from our consciousness.

 

 

 

Watercolor Painting by Brian Bailey

Brian Bailey, Lucent Grove, Watercolor, 7.25″ x 5.25″, © 2016

 

 

It’s constantly difficult to let go of preconceived notions about what I should be doing. Do my paintings look enough like others that have been successful?  Am I using color in a way that makes sense? A litany of questions can float up into my mind like bubbles from soapy water, but I think the way forward is to pop them and focus in tightly on exactly what’s in front of me. Painting and life both feel best when I’m tuned in to the present.

 

 

 

 

Watercolor Painting by Brian Bailey

Brian Bailey, Golden Landing, Watercolor, 7.25″ x 5.25″, © 2016

 

During my walks in the park, I like to find quiet spots and practice breathing with intention.  I don’t follow a specific meditation practice but have compiled my own experiences and the words of many teachers to find my way into consciousness.  It can be very slippery and doesn’t always result in a great calm or flow state but, when it does, it can be very powerful.  All the weight of the past and the expectations of the future can be dissolved and I cannot think of a better way to enter into the creative play of painting or anything else that comes from the heart.

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4 thoughts on “Outside in the Now

  1. Interestingly, it’s never occurred to me to take a moment to breathe and quiet myself before painting. No idea why. I guess the acting of painting itself stills my mind, so it becomes meditative on its own. But I may try doing some calming breath before starting next time. On an entirely different matter, I’m hoping to see you do a painting of the merry-go-round or the ducks on the pond in Tilden Park…Many happy childhood memories from there.

    • Stopping to breath and meditate is something kind of new to my process. I would agree that painting on its own is definitely meditative and goes hand in hand with being present. I’ve started meditation during the times when I’m waiting for something to dry or I whenever I need a refocus and it seems to be helpful. Thanks for your comment! P.S. I still haven’t made it to Tilden Park but hopefully soon, I really do need to explore the east bay.

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