Tonalist Painting ~ A Meditative Stimulus to Creative Powers

A good way to increase creative powers is to study or paint tonalist paintings. Creative powers are stimulated by slowing down and becoming aware of subtle changes of color and light.

In our fast-paced, bright, loud world, this balance is essential for continued health and well-being. Awareness and sensitivity are stimulated by even short exposures to these subtleties of light and color.

Even momentary observation of subtle changes in hue and value heighten one’s creative abilities significantly. Moment by moment, bit by bit, awareness increases and creative skills show themselves in unexpected ways.

Remember, creative power is not measurable in the way we think of tracking progress. Creative power shows itself between the cracks, literally and figuratively. It is in those moments we let go, however short or infrequent, that the Creative Source steps in offering gifts.

Meditative, the process of letting the eye wander amid nuances of color releases attachments. Without struggle, creative powers are released to function as they are designed to operate. The body heals, ideas flow, wellness is maintained in a balanced state.

value painting
Tre Sorelle di Poggio, oil, 10 x 10

Tonalist Painting Exercise

Mix each color to fall into a mid-value range. If the value scale from nearly black to nearly white is 10 points, a mid-range set of values would be 4, 5 and 6. This painting is an example of a mid-range value painting.

Painting this, I worked en plein air on a misty October afternoon. I was initially attracted to the russet color of an autumn tree in the foreground. However, my painting is more of a tonalist essay reflecting the quiet autumn day.

Stepping back to look for tones which pop out as too light or too dark, will help in adjusting their values.

For more examples of tonalist paintings look at works by John Henry Twachtman.

Book a Talk about Tonalist Painting & Creativity for your group

 

Mindfullness Painting Project

Mindfullness. Everyone has a mind full of images expressing who we are ~ in a truly deep and meaningful way. You don’t have to be an artist to let them out ~ where they can benefit you. This is something anyone can do.

My Mindfullness Painting Project
turned into a book

A year ago today, I began my 365 Precious Moments project. I set out to make a small painting each day, to rediscover what I had during my French residency. I wanted to do something that would train me fully ~ to live each moment like the French.

I know it looks like I’d quit the project. Truth is ~ it has transformed and taken me with it.

For once in my life, I have enough time and money to do what is truly precious. It took me 15 minutes with a tiny canvas & paintbrush to focus my Creativity, feel centered and ready to take on the world.

DAY 365

Now I find myself living a life where everything is precious ~ every conversation with every person, every brush stroke, every word. For once in my life, I have enough time and money to do what is truly precious.

This doesn’t mean I live in the Taj Mahal and bad stuff doesn’t happen. It means life is precious. I focus on one precious moment of it at a time ~ just like I did on DAY 1, when I took 15 precious minutes to paint, Homage to Monet.

DAY 1 ~ one day at a time

mindfullness painting
DAY 1 Homage to Monet, oil, 6 x 6

I went along for awhile, painting the tiny paintings. I found I could come home from a day filled with running around, errands and meetings ~ and stop for 15 minutes to center myself with a paint brush, let the Creator in, and feel rested and rejuvenated. I learned that my world would wait for 15 minutes while I did this for myself!

DAY 90 ~ a bigger container

Soon I began finding it hard to contain myself to small canvases. I let loose on some bigger ones. I thought I had failed the project because I couldn’t contain myself.

DAY 180 ~ where dreams grow up and learn to fly

By March, I had a vision for a new series of paintings. I cleared the studio of all my past paintings and focused on developing my vision. I thought I had totally abandoned the project.

DAY 240 ~ fusion

I began discovering artworks, created throughout these past 365 precious days, that illustrate a poem I wrote twenty years ago, when I married Jim. I lived into my own poem, without even knowing it.

miondfullness paintings
Mixed Media on Cradled Wood Panels, See how these are made>

Discovering this is reawakening the printmaker I was trained to be. A printmaker is trained to think in evolutions of images. In college, we learned to develop each image, by pulling a series of process prints. Draw, paint, print. Draw, paint, print. With each print, we were taught to ask and answer questions about it’s design.

We were also trained in lettering and typography, and required to create a portfolio ‘book’ of artist’s prints, illustrating a story or theme. My senior portfolio was a series of large-scale, color woodcuts, illustrating song lyrics from traditional jug band music.

DAY 300 ~ regenerating

Why was I so surprised to find myself, creating a book of original, mixed media prints? The images illustrating my poem are snippets of paintings. Some are early stages of paintings, which went on to become something else entirely. It is obvious, remembering who I am, I would yearn to move these images to their next evolution.

mindfullness poetry book
Joy’s Garden Book PURCHASE

DAY 366 ~ in the flow

TODAY . . . I am creating a limited edition of 10 handmade, mixed media prints, based on the images in this book. I am starting with these three. They are based on a painting called Embrace of the Mountain, which is fueling my Tuscany Residency.

DAY 367?

TOMORROW . . . We’ll see where these go from here.

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