I recently prepared for a guided workshop I was facilitating through Anton Art Center and the Detroit Institute of Art by going through the experience myself. A playful and mindful approach to being with art.
This workshop is one of my favorites because it involves art and wellbeing without having to know anything or be anyone other than yourself. It helps people go deeper without being deep and most of all it is particularly personal while connecting us. I tell everyone there is no right or wrong, just show up.
I like to share my experience so people have an idea about what they might encounter and selfishly it is a way for me to connect with them on a personal level.
Now imagine, what if art was your buddy? A friend you can have a conversation with while sipping tea?
That is the idea.
Here is my experience with my buddy…
I had hope on my mind, and I came across this painting by Harold Cohn:
At the time, I did not know that I was trying to put my finger on what hope really meant for me. So, being “in conversation” with this painting I first noticed the many light colored triangles appeared to me as beacons. Beacons of hope. And I was surprised that hope was not one amorphous thing but that there were many specific shapes like in this painting. Realizing that I felt some comfort. I wondered that maybe hope is more tangible and plentiful? Then, I noticed that these ‘triangles of hope’ were not only ‘out there’ and ‘up there’ but were also like anchors. I saw the reflections of the triangles in the painting as these stabilizers. Instantly, I felt my body change – I felt grounded and secure in this knowing.
Hope is wonderful thing, and we all need it. But until this experience, I am not so sure I knew what it meant to me and how it was valuable to me. I felt I understood it more now and that made it tangible for me.
I took it a step further and decided to enter the painting and become part of the scene. I felt a sense of buoyancy and a smooth feeling like gliding while I was dancing. Feeling hope in my body – I felt it was alive.
I then imagined how I could stay in this feeling while I went about my day. Was there a way to call upon my experience and live in it when I needed it most and not get caught into my doom scrolling and fear? I recalled an experience like this and then replayed it feeling hope as I now knew it. The difference was stark and one I will not forget.
The more I keep the image of the painting up on my screen, the more often I am reminded of feeling hope. And yes, I can at times be in this feeling while in less than ideal situations. That has been the biggest positive - and much needed change in my life.
I would have passed by this painting if I had not decided to have this ‘conversation” with it. But now, it is not only more meaningful to me but I am also interested in what the painting is about (sailboats created in 1956), how he created it and his other work.
All this because, I sat down with my buddy to have some tea.
Contact me if you interested in creating an experience tailored for your community related to exhibition, gallery or museum. And to learn more about how extending our attention with art can change our lives, check out the work of Slow Art: The Experience of Looking, Sacred Images to James Turrell by Arden Reed
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