The Mind, Body, Spirit Workshop, April 23rd and 24th was a wonderful success. Two students came from Oregon, one from Florida and several from various parts of California including Tuolumne. The workshop was based in part on the book: The Tao of Watercolor by Jeanne Carbonetti, a longtime favorite of mind. At left you can see several students at work...I mean at play! We focused on allowing the fluid medium of watercolor what it does best: flow.
Many students tell me they want to get "loose", to move away from tight detailed work. A common misconception is that painting loose means painting fast, or that it requires a certain deft flip of the wrist, that once learned, will result in loose painterly work. I tell them painting loose is not a technique, it's a state of mind. In the workshop we focused on using both the right and left brain to synthesize play and work, and to reach for a place that encompasses both and transcends both: the single purpose to know oneself in the present moment. That is our spirit.
When our focus is to know ourselves, then our intention is to become better painters, not to make great or saleable paintings. Getting in touch with our true spirit allows us to paint with a deliberateness. We wait for the inner voice to guide us to the next stroke; we do not mindlessly paw the paper in an attempt to fix or perfect. This is especially important when working with the medium of watercolor. It is helpful, before beginning to paint, to get oneself into the space of the painter's world, a symbolic space, and move away from the real space of practical existence. It is a singular endeavor, a process that allows you to work (and play) from the heart.