Unfinished Transformation


I tried to paint an abstract…I really did.  It was fun, too, for awhile, until I couldn’t stand it anymore and had to start putting in form.  It looks to me like this painting really wants to be a landscape.  The bird was a real joy for me~I spotted him as I was walking the trail last summer. It was very hot and he was poised there, still for long enough for my lowly point-and-shoot to focus on him.  Yay!  At home I pored over my field guides and my best guess is that he is a Dickcissel.  I will be giving more substance to the compass plant he sits on, while endeavoring to keep the overall feel light and free.

This and another thing came together in my mind as a meditation.  I cam across the movie, “The Nun’s Story”, with Audrey Hepburn.  It looked like a heavy movie but I’m a big fan of her’s so I watched it anyway the other day.  I was struck by what seemed to be a central teaching for the nuns~ the Grand Silence.  They learned to silence their thoughts so they could hear God.  I liked this idea, and I wondered to what extent any of us could reach for that within our lives without entering a convent or monastery. Not that I think there is anything wrong with them~not at all.  I find the idea of them quite beautiful.  What I mean is, I wonder what positive change can a person bring from within a worldly life if they focus on transforming themselves rather than others. I suspect there is great fullness to be found in that inner stillness.  And light.  And freedom.  I suspect that things like road rage and red light cameras and materialism dissolve. I feel lighter already 🙂

Published by melissabluefineart

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24 thoughts on “Unfinished Transformation

  1. We should follow the path that is more comfortable within, Melissa. I rarely try any of the abstract special effects that are so popular with some photographers…camera shake, or heavy-handed HDR processing. My images are pretty straight forward although I do manage things like depth of field and contrast for effect but it is still just a click of the shutter.

    What you describe, I think, is similar to meditation and often now is called mindfulness. I have tried to quiet my mind and have found the noise in my head too loud. 🙂
    I believe that if we are able to do this we will be more creative and productive but it isn’t easy for many of us to control our thoughts this way. Worth trying though.

    1. I agree. I’m so glad you don’t do any of those things to manipulate your images, Steve. Your photos already have a distinct stamp that makes them yours, and they are wonderful.
      Sometimes I can quiet my mind, but never for very long.

      1. Well, there is manipulation and then there is manipulation. Very few photographs come out of the camera in ideal condition and require some sort of adjustment. It was true in the old Ansel Adams days and just as true now. But some folks take it too far…at least for my taste…and there are some who may the same about my work. It’s our art and we should make it what we wish it to be.

  2. I’m glad you got the Dickcissel into the scene. I wonder what an abstract Dickcissel would look like.

    One of my sisters was a nun for 13 yrs. Turns out it wasn’t quite for her. I wonder if the ‘silence’ is anything like the practice of meditation in Buddhism.

    We watched a movie this spring called Ida about a young woman in Poland who was searching for the answer of whether to take her vows with the order. It would be comparable to a Hepburn movie.

  3. Haha~yeah, an abstract bird. I don’t think I could do it. 🙂 I do think the silence is the same as “no-thought” in Buddhism. Think how peaceful that would be…
    Your sister must have very interesting insights.

  4. I love the colors in this painting…well I love your soft skies period. What a treat to have the bird pose for you. I always think those moments are gifts.

    Often while hiking I can quiet my mind. I’ve achieved “no thought” while on long hikes, but not for long. It’s very peaceful…it’s my “happy place.”

  5. Well, your painting is definitely an abstraction. Though I suppose it could be more abstract if it consisted of 5 horizontal bars of color: dark green, light green, brown, yellow and light blue. I don’t know :-)! Maybe there is a way to represent the feeling of the bird and landscape in a less form-recognizable way? Abstract or not, your painting is lovely.

    I saw a few yellow birds this week. They are so delightful. Like little flying flowers or photon fairies.

    For me, silence is when I can fully receive a moment. I don’t think, I just experience. The last time I remember feeling that was when I heard a wren’s song in the forest. There was just the wren’s song and the woods and nothing else. The moment I noticed the silence, the thoughts rolled back in!

    Maybe silence is the same as clarity, like a quiet pond. As humans, I think our ability to think is very important to our growth. But we also need the ability to be quiet and just notice the world.

    I chanced upon this poem by Wordsworth which mentions the quietness of nuns: It is a beauteous evening, calm and free

    1. Ha! yes, it sure is but it isn’t finished. I really did want to do as you suggest~somehow paint the feeling of the prairie holding a bird in it’s warm, green heart.
      I’ve experienced that, too. Inner silence as I listen to a bird sing or to rain, and then I notice and the thoughts rush in like a tide. Still, there was that moment. Thank you 🙂

      1. I like your word image of the prairie’s warm green heart :-). I love that time of day when the sun has warmed the leaves and grass but it is not too hot yet and the air is slightly moist and warm and smells green.

  6. Let’s hope the compass plant points out the direction you should take to finish your painting.

    The blues and greens make me think the scene is underwater, and those green leaves could be seaweed.

    1. Yeah, I have water on my mind these days. I’m going to move to the coast if I have to live in a refrigerator box to do it!!
      Our minds run along the same lines, I think. Yesterday as I was in my studio staring at the painting I was thinking I’d call it “Finding my bearings”… assuming I do, of course 🙂

  7. Oh I LOVE this one – for many reasons – all the negative space around it, that it’s just a simple bird in a simple field of simple flowers, the extraordinary light you managed to portray (how? – with a really light touch, I’m thinking!). And your message, well, YES.

    1. Thank you so much! You have really made my day. I really went with a high-key palette on this one in an effort to portray light. Right now I am experimenting with the same bird, same flowers, only with a dark background and horizontal format. It may be a few days before I’m back in the studio though, now.

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