Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Spirit of Centering

I have an art therapy client who I have been working with for a couple of years. Together we discuss art inspired by books I bring to our sessions since she is no longer physically capable to create art with her hands due to Parkinson's. I have the honor to spend time with this incredible woman on a weekly basis.

We have been reading and discussing the art of Jeanne Carbonetti whose book The Zen of Creative Painting found my hands serendipitously. Having thoroughly enjoying her art and prose we launched into her first book The Tao of Watercolor.

Today, Jeanne's words about centering were so profound I thought I would share. She was talking about the focus of attention one brings to one's art and life. By leaving all else behind and concentrating fully on the present moment, one empowers his intention, which becomes clear. That quality of spirit she calls centering. With watercolors she believes it is critical for you to be fully present with your private world as it unfolds, so that you are not caught off-guard by the challenging surprises that water and color can thrust upon you. (I love her use of "thrust" because sometimes it just feels that way!) Whenever you prepare to paint, she urges you to allow yourself some small centering ritual that will move you from the real space of practical existence to the symbolic space of the painter's world.

Remember, every painting is a path to self-knowledge

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