no me art

we have overlooked who we truly are - pen and pencil - melinda blair paterson - 2015
we have overlooked who we truly are – pen and paper – 2015 – Words from Rupert Spira – Drawing by Melinda Blair Paterson

I was speaking with my partner the other day about my art and where I feel the artist and the art fits, or rather doesn’t, in the so-called ‘art world’. By that I mean the art of our time, which is usually described with words like ‘contemporary’ or ‘conceptual’. For years, both in art school and since,  I have struggled with trying to fit into a conceptual art scene, dying a little inside each time I was requested to come up with a story for what my art meant.   You see for me, the truth of what is artistically expressed has little, if any, meaning. It’s purely an experience and a joyful one at that. Recently I came across the words and world of ‘contemplative art’. This art practice springs forth from the Buddhist traditions and is more about the contemplative or meditative approach and process, than the outcome of the artist’s work. For the first time in years I felt a light come on and a spark of resonance.  Yet even the term contemplative art doesn’t quite hit the mark, feeling ever so slightly off my centre. So in this casual conversation with my partner I found myself saying: my art is really about me getting out-of-the-way and just letting Awareness express itself, it’s really… no-me-art.  I like the simplicity and truth of that. Bang on! Mx

 

NOTE: Just for interest here is an excellent explanation of Contemplative Art from Contemplative Mind:

Art-making is a contemplative practice that affects us internally, through our thoughts and emotions, as well as externally, through the creation of object and images that can serve as sources of inspiration and healing. Contemplative art may be loosely divided into two (non-exclusive) categories:

1) Process Emphasis: the process of making artwork is what is paramount; the work that results from the practice is not important. One might consider these contemplative practices to be simply “exercises;” they can be especially freeing for those who feel they lack adequate artistic talent or skill, since the point of the practice is not to make “good” art, but simply to observe the mind while engaging in the creative process. 

2) Product Emphasis: the practitioner intends to create a specific type of object–which may be directly related to other contemplative practices. For example, painting a religious icon, weaving a prayer shawl, stringing a rosary, or hand-binding a journal may done with mindful intention. The practice has a desired result: to produce a particular image or object.

In both cases, despite the emphasis on process or product, the intention of the practitioner is the same: to engage in the creative process with contemplative awareness.

loving each new creation

untitled  -  12Mar15  - pen and pencil  - melinda blair paterson
untitled – 12Mar15 – pen and pencil – melinda blair paterson

I have a confession…

I watch myself fall madly in love with each new artwork I create.

Even the ugly ducklings.

It’s always been this way.

In the moment, when pen and pencil or brush and paint, are doing their mindless abandoned thing… its pure joy tearing through my veins whilst the finished creation is delighted in and loved like a new-born child. Carefully placed where my gaze can intermittently check, re-check, and greet the new one.

It’s a curiosity because I’m not saying every piece of artwork I produce IS fantastic, however the experiencing is.

The conclusion I’ve come to is the creative expression springs forth from the Truth of who I am, the Love that we all are, and thus creates this wonderous mad alive loving experiencing.  🙂

Mx

doodling with Rupert



it has been brought to an end in understanding   2015   words – Rupert Spira,  drawing – Melinda Blair Paterson

It has been going on for a week or so now, this love affair with Rupert Spira, or rather his recent published work ‘The light of pure knowing‘, some 30 meditations on the essence of non duality. 

I sit at my desk, take my journal in hand, push the play arrow on the iPad, and enjoy an hour or so of exquisite pleasure listening to Rupert whilst doodling with black pen and colour pencils. I’ve coined it ‘contemplative doodling’. 

Every now and then a few words spoken by Rupert, in his elogent English accent, filter through and I write them down. Words that unknowingly penetrate the mindless abstraction of doodling, and strike a note of connection and deeper understanding. I love that. Mx



the object comes to us, we don’t go to it   2015   words – Rupert Spira   drawing – Melinda Blair Paterson



beauty is the experience that objects are not objects   2015   words – Rupert Spira   drawing – Melinda Blair Paterson



being aware in everything   2015   Melinda Blair Paterson



floating in awareness, forever free   2015   Melinda Blair Paterson



how close is this experience to the knowing of it?   2015   words – Rupert Spira  drawing – Melinda Blair Paterson

contemplative doodling

Then I watch whilst the hand, pen, pencil, just does its thing. An effortless joy to experience.

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I live in a small space, a cabin to be exact, and my art studio is an equally small space, a shipping container. It encourages a zen-like approach to possessions, which I love.
During the summer months it is too hot to work in the studio, so this week I surrendered the small bunk bed in the cabin, which was becoming a dumping ground, and put in a desk. This way I can still continue my creative practice even on days when it is too hot, wet or cold to go down to the studio.
Whilst setting up the desk I found some old drawings from my post art school days of 2011 and felt inspired to play. It feels a bit like doodling and yet offers an element of the contemplative approach, especially whilst listening to Luke Howard. I find his music such a gift for letting go of thought and shifting gear into the heart. Then I watch whilst the hand, pen, pencil, just does its thing. An effortless joy to experience. Mx

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drawings from 2011

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the hope of orange – pen and pencil – 2015 – melinda blair paterson

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finding myself clinging to strange places – pen and pencil – 2015 – melinda blair paterson

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love’s structure – pen and pencil – 2015 – melinda blair paterson

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the hub 🙂

Sahaja

‘Sahaja’ is a sanskrit word for ‘innate’ or ‘born with’.

A selection of recent works created with layers of acrylic paint,
poured onto white backgrounds.

sahaja earth   120x120cms   acrylic on canvas   2014   melinda blair paterson

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Sahaja …
humbly borrowed from a beautiful language
quietly slipped into the title
lovingly pointing the viewer to look
from whence they came

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Sahaja Peace   100x100cms   acrylic on canvas   2014   Melinda Blair Patersonsahaja peace   100x100cms   acrylic on canvas   2014   melinda blair paterson

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Sahaja…
swirling inward to a watery rest
falling on the breast of unknown
always calling the wanderer home
if she will only listen

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Sahaja Sound  90x90cms  acrylic on canvas  2014  Melinda Blair Paterson sahaja sound   90x90cms   acrylic on canvas   2014   melinda blair paterson

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Sahaja…
your sound rolls through like distant thunder
parting my lips and heart to allow
the exhale of your tone and warning
guiding the lover home

Mx

2 + 2 = 4 or not?

A photo essay on 2 + 2 = 4 or not?

All images were taken on my 4s iPhone and app’d through framestastic and instagram. Mx

studio language
studio language
beach heart leaf - melinda blair paterson
beach heart leaf
beach blue - melinda blair paterson
beach blues
watch out for penguins - melinda blair paterson
watch out for penguins 🙂
beach hip - melinda blair paterson
beach hipster
beach balloons - melinda blair paterson
beach balloons
pink coral sand
pink coral sand
stingray love
stingray love
Bali steps - melinda blair paterson
bali steps

beauty in imperfection

. . . that was the moment I became educated
about an ancient practice in Japan, known as ‘kintsugi’.

plate by Blossom Young, Moonrise Studios, Mullumbimby, Australia

Living life in a small space tends to encourage zen-like simplicity. I find myself giving due consideration to most objects I bring home. So when it comes to items that are not of a practical nature, I am even more ruthless in my weighing up. I ask myself… do I really need it?

I’ve wandered in and out of Moonrise Studios in Mullumbimby for over a year now. Stopping to admire and desire the hand-made ceramics by the gallery owner, Blossom Young, more times than I’d like to admit. So when the buying of Christmas gifts was recently on the agenda, I decided to treat myself.

I explored every surface of this beautiful little white, light filled, gallery looking for the right piece . Being on a budget, my choices became refined. I was just about to give up when I noticed a little plate nestled on a shelf behind the front counter, with a blue web-like design, and asked if I could see it. Oh it has a crack in it… damn… (think again)… oh that doesn’t matter, it’s the design I love and it’s the perfect size. I asked Blossom if the crack could be filled, and that was the moment I became educated about an ancient practice in Japan, known as ‘kintsugi’.

The term ‘kintsugi’ means golden joinery in Japanese and refers to the ancient art of fixing broken ceramics with a lacquer resin made to look like solid gold. It is thought that these vessels become more gorgeous, and more precious, than before they were fractured. Many Japanese cherish the imperfection of a broken pot repaired in this way, seeing it as a creative addition and/or rebirth of the pot’s life story. (Source: Dick Lehman)

I had to wait about a week while Blossom lovingly filled the cracked plate before it was bought home for ‘kintsugi’. The sense of ritual was immediately apparent. The appropriate materials were gathered and laid out on the table: cotton gloves, small fine brushes, specialist glue and gold leaf sheets. Slowly the glue was applied to the crack line. A waiting of 15 minutes was needed for the glue to cure. Sitting patiently, an opportunity to bring presence to the task was deafening. Time’s up! A flutter of excitement as cotton gloved fingers tore tiny pieces of gold leaf from the glistening sheets; gently allowing them to float down on the tip of a brush onto the glue. Painstakingly the crack began to emerge as a volcanic outflow across the patterned landscape. It’s glowing imperfection now offering beauty and new life.

I love my little plate from Moonrise Studios. It sits on my bedroom dresser, offering it’s pattern and gold imperfection to my eye every day. It’s an object I’m glad I’ve brought into my small space. It gifts the simplest of pleasures. As an artist, it especially reminds me to allow the beauty of so called ‘imperfection’ into my creativity… and even more so, in life.

Mx

Note: Thanks to ceramicist, Dick Lehman, for his article – Kintsugi: gold repair of ceramic faults. The complete article is here.