Meditative Art,

Meditative Art

Vancouver-based Artist, Jennifer Chernecki, teaches a one hour art session to share her active meditation practice.

I recently taught my meditative art practice at a meditation and healing conference in the Peace Region. My 40 student class was offered as one of 6 breakout sessions at the be. real Conference encore in Dawson Creek, BC.

The class began with me gathering the crowd into a circle and playing my selected soundtrack, Dr. James Hopkins' Pythagorean Harmonic Medicine - a seven track harmonics compilation that could be considered as healing, math-based melody. The Dr. describes it as causing "resonance, entrainment, and brain wave synchronization" via sound wave wonders.

 Next, I guided the class to walk around in a large, slow circle. The room was a hotel conference room and I had arranged the 7 tables in an open square format, encircling the room. Each table had a single flower, or a little bunch in a brilliant color. The participants were directed to take a seat as soon as they felt a subject (flora) that they felt drawn to.  

The tables were fun - each displayed a balance of the full color wheel, but the mediums existed across the board - brush tipped, double ended Stadtler felts, Prismacolor pencil crayons, a good handful of water color pencils, random conté crayons, and of course lots of pencils and pens.   

Finally, a piece of professional rag paper in front of each artist. And lots of regular blank paper.

The meditation starts. We are called to gaze at our species. We must take the time to sit and acknowedge each specimen's beauty and uniquness. We think of nothing else but the joy of having such intricate and incredible things, naturally, as part of our everyday life. Next, we focus on our plant's contours. We trace the outline of our subject with our eyes, starting from one side of the stem, then up through the leaves and around the head of the flower, then back down the stem to the vase. We see every curve and inflection. We notice the ins and the outs. Next, we move outside of the subject and look at the space around or it. Or what it isn't. Some of us see light or little flicks of energy surrounding the plant - that's its energy and you can learn more about that in the book the Celetine Prophecy. The meditation practice takes around 10 minutes and although the bright room has a slightly different vibe than your classical, eyes-dimmed meditation, the class is in it and the room is silent. There is plenty of time for laughing as we move on to the fast figure studies. 

I directed everyone to grab a color and a piece of the blank paper. I told them they had 30 seconds to do a figure study of the plant. I said, "begin". 30 sec later, I said, "stop". Jaws dropped and people laughed hard. Some had not made it past drawing a 60 degree angle - likely the joint of two petals - alas never to bloom.

I demonstrated the exercise on an easel at the front of the room with the nearby red rose, still tight before full blooom... i.e I wipped it out. We moved on to another 30 second drawing frenzy, then a few more, eventually working up through a few minutes. Each quick sketch was a study. First we just tried to capture the basic anatomy of the plant. Occasionally I would call out, "rotate!" and the designated rotater would swivel the vase in front of them, presenting their table mates with a new viewpoint. We worked our way through various studies including close-up details, light and shadow and a final challenge to draw it in abstract form. 

With only 30 minutes left, the time to approach the rag paper, the final composition, had reached us. Some people were scared to start. I assured them the paper was not that fancy. We began our compositions, starting back and working our way through what we had learned. We admired our subject and threw down its basic shape. We focused in on its perimeters and drew its energy field and negative space. We explored light and shadow and moments of concentrated detail. I dared everyone to add an abstract element into their composition.  As the compositions progressed I began to offer water and brushes out to people who wanted to experiment with bleeding the watercolor pencil pigments. Brave souls flicked paint and each piece developed and transformed into its own unique blossom. To end the session, I read to each table from Medium Geof Jowett's Chakra book -  the Power of I am - corralating the color of the flower at each table they chose with the chakra it represented. As is tradition, we finished up by circling around the room, admiring each other's very fine work. The class was a success and I thank all the willing participants for joining me.  


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