PAINTING AS INNER ENGAGEMENT, Part One
What is the deeper nature of painting?
How can I develop as a painter in accordance with this deeper nature?
All form comes from non-form – arising from, and pervaded by, ever-present Being.
The awakening to our true nature is perhaps the most significant occurrence in a person’s life. There are many paths to this – as many as there are people. There are devotional paths, accompanied by forms of prayer. There are contemplative paths, accompanied by forms of meditation. There are various paths of yoga – enlisting the body through hatha, the mind through jnana, the heart through bhakti. There is also the possibility of enlisting our sense perceptions and creative energies, through what we often call art.
Painting carries within it the power to recognize and give expression to our true nature. To help provide for this possibility, this course is designed to work with and develop the foundational skills of painting in the context of Being and mindfulness.
Throughout the whole course we will be exploring our experience of seeing, and of marking in relation to our seeing. Our formal means, that is – how we will make marks and with what materials, will start out more simply and gradually add complexity as we become more familiar with the territory and the experience of seeing and marking. Although images will develop through these exercises and explorations, our aim here is not an object or an image, but rather the deepening of our felt understanding of seeing and marking as a practice of experiencing our present-moment awareness and Being.
Working from observation, participants will explore and develop outer formal skills in tandem with inner skills and inward positioning. We’ll be covering the following inner and outer skills:
- Locating the accurate geometry of the observed forms and the spaces in between the forms. This entails learning to measure, seeing “through a grid”, and shifting our attention from a discursive “thinking” mode to a more perceptually-based, spacious mode.
- Assessing the relative tonal relationships of the various observed forms and learning how to mix these tones in paint. The search for convincing tonal relationships in paint entails a working understanding of value, temperature and saturation. As in the formal element of geometry, the development of tonal understanding and mixing calls for a shift from a hurried mind to a more settled, patient and present mind.
- Exploring the nature of edges – how one form ends and another begins within our visual perception, and how to translate that experience into paint. This exploration entails moving from our usual object-oriented attention to field-oriented experience.
- Structuring the shapes and various formal elements into meaningful composition and starting to explore the deeper significance of composition as a creative and mindful discipline. What is the source of the experience of wholeness and “just right” form?
Who this course is for —
This course is for people who are interested in developing foundational skills in painting and would like to do so through a lens of awareness and mindfulness.
This course is for people who already have foundational skills and are looking to deepen their painting practice, both inwardly in terms of their experience, and outwardly in terms of the painting itself.
This course is for people who are interested in exploring their deeper self and the nature of Being through the lens of sense perception and aesthetic engagement.
Through an engagement with formal outward skills our inner sensibility will be engaged and clarified, further attuning our attention to our true nature. Through an online platform, each session will include demonstrations and guided exercises to be practiced together. After each guided exercise there will be time for sharing, feedback, questions and conversation. All of the exercises will be demonstrated, facilitated and guided by Jordan.
The course will be divided into two sections. Participants are encouraged to take both parts, starting with Part One and building on it with Part Two. Part One will cover the aspects of geometry and tonality. Part Two will continue with tonality and move into edge quality and composition.
PART ONE WEEKLY OUTLINE:
Week One: In our exploration of the experience of Being, drawing becomes an activity that provides a deepening access of our present moment. This first week we will be exploring the relationship between seeing and marking by looking at a group of a few simple objects. We will do this through the exercises of blind contour drawing, contour drawing, and blind cross contour drawing. The image that develops is a trace of our visual attention — embodied visual attention. We will work in graphite.
Week Two: The exercises for the second week will focus on marking, in relation to our seeing, that is more spacious in nature. While continuing to look at a simple group of objects our marking will include more of an emphasis on the space surrounding the objects and less of a focus on the appearance of the objects themselves. We will work in graphite and charcoal.
Week Three: We introduce measuring as a means for developing a sharper sense of our actual visual perception. The use of the grid will be explained as a tool for measuring, as well as a means for becoming aware of Awareness. While attempting to see more accurately, the goal here is not “getting it right” but the strengthening of intimacy with our visual experience, and the tracing of that experience in the making of the drawing. Measuring becomes a means of being with our ongoing visual experience, and opens to an ongoing experience of Being. We will work in graphite.
Week Four: Continuing with the practice of measuring, the analytic quality of our looking and marking will be interspersed with a more intuitive marking and open encounter with the surrounding space. We will weave an analytic mode of attention with an intuitive mode of attention, as well as an alternating emphasis on form and space, in the development of the drawing. We will work in graphite and charcoal.
Week Five: We will move into the aspect of value, the grey scale, as a means of exploring our visual experience of all the various colors and tones that we see. Discovering the specific relationships between various value shapes becomes key and we will learn how to focus our attention while maintaining a non-verbal spacious attention. Locating the subtle differences between values becomes a vehicle for recognizing subtle states of our own attention, and then noticing that which is aware of the subtleties. We will work with a small simple group of objects, in charcoal.
Week Six: We will continue to explore value, turning now to using black and white oil paint. First, we will take time to see how oils works, becoming familiar with its qualities and learning how to draw with the paint. We will then move into a values exploration of a small section of the group of objects we are looking at. Again, the aim here is to explore our visual experience as a means of becoming present to the current moment and experience. As we learn to investigate value relationships, both of the objective still life as well as our developing image, and while accuracy is an aim, the steadiness of our inquiry takes precedence over any imagined goal of “finish”.
Week Seven: We continue with the exercise from Week Six, further developing the value study and discovering how oil paint functions as a medium of ongoing inquiry.
This course re-contextualizes painting back to its ancient roots as a human depth activity that gives expression to our true nature.
In addition to the demonstrations will be a LIVE ongoing Q&A, allowing for in-depth conversation covering the nuts and bolts of the exercise, as well as fielding general questions regarding a painting practice.
For all levels. Course limited to 20 participants.
A Members Only Facebook group will be provided for posting our work, for supportive community and creative sharing. Jordan will conduct weekly reviews of the work with clear and constructive responses. To go to the group page please CLICK HERE.
All sessions will be streamed in HIGH DEFINITION, providing greatly increased visual acuity of the painted surface and demonstrations.
All sessions will be recorded, archived and available for repeated viewing.
A Webinar Link will be sent out upon registration.
To register simply click on the “+” sign below.