The Intimacy of the Present Moment, and Painting

Meditation is at the very core of my work. I don’t use mantras or much breath work or lotus positions, but rather sit comfortably and quietly, resting in the rich experience of what is happening at that very moment.  It’s truly resting; there is nothing to do, to work on, to adjust, except noticing and being totally and completely present and aware. Thoughts don’t stop, but they are noticed as thoughts and the attention remains on the razor’s edge of the moment. In a sense, Jane disappears, the experience of the world comes to the forefront. While it may sound detached, it’s a very intimate experience.

Years ago I created a conceptual video to describe the process, here’s the short version, and while all is pretty quiet,  the music reflects the drama of one’s thoughts:

My view is, most of humanity has evolved increasingly towards using our thoughts to interpret the world, which is quite useful at times but has robbed us of our actual, lived experience. Mostly we experience the world by how we think about it. For the kind of painting I do, engaging in a fixed mental state is not conducive to the flow of creativity. Surely thinking and analysis is useful along the way, but not useful as the energy that springs into motion and begins creativity. I’m interested in reflecting that felt sense of the world, and to do so, all of me must be connected to everything around and inside of me.

Photo credit, Julie Denesha

So I sit, sometimes before beginning to work, more usually in the midst of a painting flurry, when thoughts take over, to stop and settle and reconnect with what is being experienced. Tuning in to what is felt, heard, being fully aware, using this beautiful instrument of the human body to open up to the surrounding environment, and to the universe.

To me, this is not woo-woo, it’s “not out there” in any way, it’s what is real.  It’s extremely intimate. Therefore while the paintings become public, they come from my deepest experiences, appearing on canvas in the most honest way I can muster. They are a window into this being’s experience of the world.