Do you work in a chaotic environment that involves a lot of pressure?
Then you would benefit greatly from having Art around you.
Chronic stress keeps us in a state of high alert detrimental to our health, our happiness, and our cognitive abilities.
On another hand, exposure to uplifting visual clues triggers a biological positive response involved in immunity, digestion and cell repair and you can see how serene, mindful and meditative art work can be a game changer and even more so in your work environment.
In 1967, David Rockefeller established the BCA — a national nonprofit organization that brings business and the arts together. The BCA conducted a survey across industries that assessed the positive effect of Art in the workplace.
In fact, Art at work reduces stress and increases our productivity (up to 32% accordingly to Karen Higginbottom in her excellent article for Forbes in May 2016).
Deutsche Bank is on board with it. The German investment bank has the biggest collection of corporate art in the world, with some 60,000 art works across 900 offices in 40 countries.
What makes Art so powerful?
I personally believe Art partakes from a higher level of consciousness, an acute sensory ability and a limitless freedom of spirit that serves the whole human group.
In presence of Art we engage that part of us that is beyond earth-bound limitations, even when we are not aware of it.
We get in touch with the exquisite awareness of being gifted with Life. Through Art, we are connected, we are touched by grace, we are cosmic.
Did I mention that it takes only 13 milliseconds to see something and register it?
You won’t need to stare at the wall to get the full effect of a work of art, actually you can perceive it from the corner of your eye!
No matter how much you like or dislike what you do
When you are at work, no matter how chaotic your surroundings can be, you will always benefit greatly from a nurturing, transcending artwork to rest your mind upon during the day.
Far beyond its pleasant decorative qualities, the artwork you’ll choose to display can help you cope, recoup and relax when your day is particularly hectic.
In this day and age, we are all body conscious, we all take supplements and exercise, we eat the right thing and get massages… but how many of us deliberately choose to pamper our mind ?
What about a mind massage ?
Serene, meditative Art, purposefully designed to support wellness and awareness, does just that…
To your wellness!
Years ago, I used to feel slightly irked when people told me what a “gift” I had.
When told about my gift it felt like thousands of hours of work, spent honing my skills, were being dismissed, replaced in people’s mind by a magic and effortless delivery of which I was the lucky beneficiary.
But I got used to the comment and did not mind it any more after a while.
I was not aware yet of the true nature of the Gift I was being given…
Awareness comes in layers for me, uncovering evidence slowly, gradually, like zooming back with sharper focus and taking more and more in, getting to understand a wider and more intricate web of connections between all the parts of my life and seeing the perfection of it all. Every insight a Aha moment… Maybe you can relate to that?
It all started by watching. I have always been a watcher.
As a sick child, home bound, I observed everything acutely and loved spending time at my neighbor’s house, cuddling with his mutt and watching him paint colorful canvasses. I drew with pencils and loved it. I guess I got the bug right there and then… who knows?
Fast forward many years, numerous exhibitions later and a bold move to the US.
I painted a full lot, following my inclination without other intention than giving it my best and as I got to witness people’s reactions to my work, I heard their great sighs of appreciation, read their body language, and realized the stress relieving, uplifting qualities of my paintings. They affected people’s mood in a positive way!
From then on, I chose to use my skills to infuse each piece with the most positive charge I can fathom.
In 2008, as I dealt with a serious health issue in alternative ways, I could see how much being “squeaky clean” intensified my work’s qualities. As much as my life fed my work, my work came to shape my life; it became clear that to be able to create meditative, relaxing, healing paintings, I was best to keep my mind and my body as vibrant and clean as I could… that was a gift in itself.
I became very selective in everything I let in: organic food, no alcohol, no drugs, no TV… my vibratory state of being is my compass in all things.
It is all at once a demanding and liberating way to live, and a few years brought more growth in me than the many ones before.
Today it dawned on me that, while I painted with the desire to bring relief and bliss to the world, my work has been pivotal in cultivating my own inner peace, my own deep seated joy, my own well being. I was being given a portal, a two-way energetic channel.
Today I can feel connected to the rest of the universe in a very essential way, I can keep my balance and my willingness to go for integration rather than separation, I feel at peace in the midst of troublesome social antagonisms, I live every day with joy bubbling up at the beauty of all of Life and I realize that yes: I indeed have a Gift.
It is not in the execution of each painting: that’s expertise; no, the Gift is in the way I am graced with what I intend, coming back manifold, keeping me in a powerful stream of ecstatic beingness.
Because of my it I live an extraordinary life, at more levels than I can tell, so now, if someone says: “You have such a gift!” I just smile and agree.
XOXO from Maui
Many years ago I chose to put my skills as a painter into delivering peaceful imagery to the world.
I did not start that way.
In my early years I would paint and draw randomly, in as many directions as my pencil would take me. I guess the simple act of drawing was enough, in itself.
Most of the time, nature scenes were my favorites already, but I did not have an INTENTION, beyond making pretty images and enjoy myself doing it.
Years passed and in 2000 I relocated in California, due to a significant other at the time and I kept on painting even more.
A few years into my showing and selling small watercolors in local venues, something got my attention repeatedly: people were reacting to my work in words and in body language, with a very consistent feedback: it made them feel good, it was soothing and uplifting to them and it brought them joy.
Followed some very significant realizations on my part… (as in inner integration, not only an intellectual understanding).
Art in general is very powerful and can be a tool to heal the world.
My work touched people in a positive way.
It gave me incredible joy to understand that I could relieve stress, give some hope, or a swift boost of happiness with colors and scenes and even increase that effect by adding deliberate intention to each painting.
Our world is inundated with bad news, violent visuals and warnings, all well engineered to put in overdrive our amygdala (a part of our brain designed to be on the look out for danger) and produce a disabling amount of stress. Making the choice to use the power of positive visuals was an attempt to give my clients a virtual place to disengage and recoup.
To help people get back in touch with primal bliss and timeless happiness with which we come to this world.
This was definitely a shift, a re-framing of my work as a painter in a larger context.
A meta image became evident: the effect, the impact of any painting is a lot bigger than the painting itself, or its subject.. (duh!).
Peaceful paintings were my medium for a wider purpose.
Like any other uplifting practice or soothing medium, would it be meditative music, zen gardens, mandalas, meditations, yoga or contemplating sunsets, positive imagery is a support for wellness.
More and more studies on the subject show that we are extremely influenced by our visual environment and that any time we spend in a relaxed mental state is supporting our good health and ability to thrive emotionally… what a beautiful tool I have access to!
On my side of things, the journey into color, the coalescing of a desire into tangible form, there is not only intention, but delight in the process. Painting for me is a form of meditation, a place where my spirit can play, unbound and peaceful… and I believe that is powerfully healing as well, for me.
Of course Art has been written about for centuries, the writing never completely grasping the experience itself… and I still prefer making Art than talking about it to tell you the truth.
Still, there is a line I love in the beautiful book “Callings” by Gregg Levoy that I will share with you here: “When we become immersed in any creative activity we bring on ourselves a sense of rapt attention, of rapture, of departure from ego, from time and place. We see into the heart of things and get a glimpse of something that was previously hidden. In this way, the creative act is a mystical experience.”
May you have peace in your heart and joy in your soul…
As far as I am concerned there are two essential components in a painting: the idea, feeling or concept the artist wants to transmit and the technique applied to convey it.
Since I am self-taught, technique came about by trying and practicing and reading “how to” books and observing a couple of painters doing their craft at two widely apart periods of my life. As a matter of fact now that I think of it both men were also self taught… And passionate about their work.
Techniques vary, and every artist cultivates their own style through the technique they feel most comfortable with and the tone of their painted world so to speak. Which keeps evolving along the years as we grow. A self taught person might make a lot of mistakes but has the advantage of being truly an explorer and going at things with an adventurous spirit…
Today I just completed a large painting on canvas : “Sea Whisper”. I knew before hand that the effect I was looking for required a technique of glazing over and over many thin layers of diluted colors, like veils, creating the sense of depth and the slick surface of very still water. Thanks to the many paintings executed before, I now know how to get where I am going… a lot of the time. It is a wonderful thing. Of course I want to go past it and increasingly master more and more, to be able to paint more challenging effects. And I will.
What strikes me is the parallel between acquiring more technique as a painter and developing mastery in my life in general. Self-mastery is a journey and it affects positively every area of our existence once we commit to it. For mastery in real life is also requiring to have an idea, a feeling of what we want and to acquire the techniques that will permit us to reach it. In the same way I keep refining the way I paint, I keep applying what I learn from the masters, from the successful people I look up to, from the authors, the mentors, the speakers, who inspire me. Day after day, I keep in mind where I want to get, who I want to be and I take the steps from here to there… while having an idea in mind.
It’s not very different if you think of it, from creating paintings!
I believe Art starts when we organize things around an idea or a concept to convey it to the world. Living deliberately is an art. Creating our future is a choice, one worth every effort to make our life a master piece…!
To your beautiful life!
Sea Whisper ©emmelinecraig
Here is “Sea Whisper”, barely finished today…
Passionate about this and loving the process, I offer self mastery coaching. Please visit my Artistry of Life page or Artistry of Life Coaching Facebook page to learn more or contact me for a free session to determine if we are a good fit: firstname.lastname@example.org or 415 868 9741 (10 am to 4 pm).
Holidays. Gifts. Shopping…
This is it: we are entering the last 2 weeks before one of the main gifts giving period of the year! Some of us are really good at this and plan ahead, buying, crafting, finding the right item for every loved one and wrapping it lovingly, adding a handmade card and a pouch of home made cookies for good measure… Ah…that is wonderful of course and don’t we all wish we would do this too? But in fact, most of us look at their planner with incredulous eyes and realize that Christmas, Hanukkah, New year’s eve, …fill the blank… is around the corner and that we have to go for a gift shopping spree in the next few days!
So… where to go? what to get? For whom? Some of our loved ones are so clear in their desires that it’s an easy task : one just has to listen up and follow the clues… a new fishing gear item, a better computer, a necklace, some books on a favorite subject… treats… music, clothing. The choice is vast.
But we all have people we love that are drawing a blank at first in our mind: they have everything already, we want to surprise them or they have been relocating lately… Something new and meaningful has to be found…
That is when Art comes handy. Yes, you read me: offer the gift of Art!
Well you might say, I would, but Art is really a personal thing, you know. How can I make sure it will be the right thing? How do I choose in the first place? And what if they do not like it?
There is a number of things to check out and determine if a piece of Artwork is just the right thing for a loved one (or a business partner, or a client…):
~first: they love beautiful things, they care a lot about their home, their surroundings, the look of things around them matters, they are the ones who adjust the angle of a frame on your wall when they visit, or who mention an Art exhibition, who like designer items, and always have an eye for the rare object in thrift shops, Antiques dealers or outings.
~Second: they have a few favorite artists and they talked about them in the past. Either well known or of lesser fame, these favorites tell you what kind of Art, what genre, would please them.
~Third: You went with them in the past to open studios, art galleries, or artisan boutiques and they showed great liking for some of the work there.
~Forth: they are officially art lovers and always looking for the next piece to bring in their collection.
~Fifth: they have a small budget and frame postcards and brochures from artists they love.
~Sixth: they are wealthy and money is of no concern, but you know that a piece of Art work is exactly what would really show them how much care and meaning you have put in your present to them.
I could go on like this for a while… the truth is, offering Art to people we like is often a good idea because it will show our appreciation of them, of their homes, of their taste and of the mindfulness we put in our choice.
Think about an aging relative far away… Or a loved one who moved to a new house, had another baby, or divorced and had to recreate their own world after parting… So many situations in life could use a visual little helper, reminding your loved ones that you think of them and bringing them solace every time they look at the item!
It doesn’t need to be an out of this world extravaganza, though if you can… why not? Actually a very small painting, an original miniature, can be all it will take to make Aunt Suzie happy every day when she passes by it on her way to the door! A large print, for a drab cubicle or a student room, could make a tremendous difference for the recipient every time they step in!
It is a wonderful idea to send a serene piece of Art to someone who has been ailing for a while, and whose world has shrunk because of that. A cheerful piece will offer them an uplifting support to boost their spirits and create a mental oasis, a refuge, an escape where they can refresh and recuperate. As we know, when the mind relaxes, the body does follow suit… Hence increasing Wellness can be elicited.
As a painter, I often see people pondering on what to offer a loved one, and if Art is appropriate, and I say yes !
If you know the person’s tastes very well, do not hesitate, offer Art, by all means! You will definitely delight your recipients, and surprise them, and your gift will keep giving, over and over… making them feel good for two reasons: it came from you, and it is beautiful.
And if you still have a doubt on the particular piece they’d want, but you know which artist they appreciate, offer them a gift certificate! That way, the person will go and choose exactly what they like, and maybe put your gift forward a purchase they would not have afforded otherwise, adding on their own for a larger item.
Offering the gift of genuine Art is meaningful, loving, and increases the quality of life of all involved: you won’t be squeezing in the aisle of a large retail store, anxiously hunting for the one item that fits, while being infused with syrupy holiday muzak, knowing that no matter what you get it has been produced in mass; you will enjoy your shopping time instead, looking at original and unique things while meeting with a relaxed artist or their sale person, and learning the stories behind the work… you will support directly an Artist and their creative life and last but not least you will bring joy to the person you give it to… Can you see anything wrong with that?
There is such an array of possibilities as much in price as in style, that I can see no good reasons to forgo buying Art for everyone you want to treat this winter. At the contrary, going and purchasing Art pieces, from very small to impressively large, will be the most amazing choice you can make even if you never dared doing so before!
That being said… if you are a loved one who would love to receive Art for yourself… it might be time to drop a clue or two…
Happy Holidays to You, and happy gift shopping !