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.

contemplative doodling

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


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

drawings from 2011

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

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

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

the hub 🙂