The Appeal of a Quiet Mind

I’ve just completed my latest painting. It’s a big one (39.5″ x 60″) Painting this subject has been immensely gratifying. While the intricate play of shadows was anything but simple, the subject was incredibly soothing to render. More and more I’m letting my heart and intuition guide me as to what to paint. And often it’s only in retrospect that I understand my choice of subjects.

This painting represents, for me, stepping into a quiet mind.

This scene comes from one of my favorite places on earth, the island of Folegandros in Greece. Living in Italy makes hopping over to Greece pretty easy and fairly inexpensive. If you don’t know Folegandros, it is a blissfully serene island with cliffs and views that can stun a person into silence. Its remote location and the absence of an airport help keep this island free from being overrun by tourists.

Sp. when I sat before the blank canvas and considered what I wanted to paint, the photos I’d taken of this setting shoved other candidates aside. For those of you who follow my work, you’ll know this subject is highly unusual for me in that there is an absence of a person.

I knew this painting would be an ambitious endeavor, but I also knew that painting it would bring me peace. It had the potential to lead me into a quiet mind, which is something I don’t find often enough.

Too often I get lost in a busy, chatty mind.

And this is where art is my savior. I’d like to say I cruise into a quiet mind simply by painting, but first I have to get past all the noise of swirling thoughts that insist on knowing the outcome of a painting before I’ve even started. Whoa! What a lesson for my life on a grander scale. How many times have I been frozen into inaction because I’m waiting to feel good, to feel peaceful and to know that success is certain? I’ve realized inaction can plague me if I stand in creative constipation by a busy mind.

If I wait for a quiet mind, I can be waiting forever.

I know this only too well. I also know that I have to step into the noise and the discomfort and start anyway. I have to trust that the quiet mind will come when I take the leap of faith and start. I also have learned that I can’t think myself into a peaceful state. In fact, that’s a sure recipe for a mind that shifts into high gear. Our left brains love a good fight.

And so I leave you with my latest work of art, and a glimpse into my artistic process and the challenges of a busy mind that wants to run the entire show. Thank goodness my art-teacher mother taught me to lean into art for self-expression and for personal exploration and revelation.

 

“The monotony and solitude of a quiet life stimulates the creative mind.” – Albert Einstein

 

 

 

 

 

 

By |2019-01-19T22:05:18+00:00August 29th, 2017|Paintings Posts, Personal musings|30 Comments

About the Author:

I’m an American expat living in Italy!

30 Comments

  1. Cindy O'Hara August 31, 2017 at 5:16 am - Reply

    Jed……………I keep looking at this thinking it MUST be a photograph!!! How do you do that??? I just want to find that peaceful spot and sit in it! Thank you for sharing your beautiful images and words, you are the BEST!!!
    Love to you and Simone……..
    Cindy
    XOXO

    • Jed August 31, 2017 at 10:44 am - Reply

      Ciao Cindy! I’m so happy to like the new piece! I loved painting it and right now I’m enjoying the sense of accomplishment. Still waiting to determine what comes next! Love to you and Malcolm. We miss you guys!

  2. Ellen August 30, 2017 at 11:37 am - Reply

    So beautiful! I love the shadows…. your talents and insights are amazing. Everyday I benefit from seeing your photos and paintings on my walls I never tire of them! Paint on!

    • Jed August 30, 2017 at 12:39 pm - Reply

      Cia, Ellen. I love that some of my “children” are with you and so well loved! Thanks for always being so encouraging. Jed

  3. Stephanie August 29, 2017 at 7:52 pm - Reply

    “How many times have I been frozen into inaction because I’m waiting to feel good, to feel peaceful and to know that success is certain? I’ve realized inaction can plague me if I stand in creative constipation by a busy mind.” WOW! As always, super stunning painting and even more powerful words my sweet friend!!! Thanks for sharing! My favorite paintings are ones that you want to be in, this one is perfection!

    • Jed August 30, 2017 at 12:38 pm - Reply

      Hi, Stepahanie! Glad you like both the painting and the commentary. It helps to journal, albeit publically, about my process. I’m still mulling over my next subject––and one that similarly makes me wants to be inside the painting!

  4. Gloria August 29, 2017 at 6:55 pm - Reply

    Bella. Bella. Such good work. Your inspirations and self awareness go hand in hand. Meravigliosa. 🙂

    • Jed August 30, 2017 at 12:35 pm - Reply

      Grazie mille, Gloria! The words of encouragement are so appreciated!

  5. Nicole Victor August 29, 2017 at 6:33 pm - Reply

    Wow as always your painting is amazing – it looks like a photograph. I loved your message as well – as usual your message comes at a time I need it! xoxo

    • Jed August 29, 2017 at 6:44 pm - Reply

      Thanks, sweet woman! When I cleaned my brushes and stood back, looking at this painting, I so wished I could walk into it, and sit down. Maybe there’s something to painting scenes that bring me this kind of peace…

  6. Robert Crivellone August 29, 2017 at 5:48 pm - Reply

    Thanks for sharing this beautiful painting. I always enjoy seeing Italy Wise in my inbox, but it’s a special treat when I open a gift from you. You’ve become the embodiment of la dolce vita to me.
    Also thanks for sharing a joyous path to presence.
    Robert

    • Jed August 29, 2017 at 6:43 pm - Reply

      Grazie mille, Robert! I’m so pleased you like the painting. I feel so fortunate to have art as a way to express myself and to learn! Thanks for writing! Jed

  7. David Collins August 29, 2017 at 5:25 pm - Reply

    The painting is a beauty Jed. We have two chairs very like those in our old cantina. Not that comfortable but lovely symbols,of a bygone era in Italy.

    • Jed August 29, 2017 at 6:41 pm - Reply

      Always great to hear from you, David. And thanks for the encouraging words. I might be coming in October. If so, hope to see you guys!

  8. Joyce Beckett August 29, 2017 at 4:06 pm - Reply

    Jed…
    I’m a friend of Kat Smith’s here in Anderson, SC. She recommended your site to me since I am such a lover of all things Italian (and French…and Greek). I have so enjoyed reading your posts. This last post with your beautiful painting is fantastic. The way you handled the shadows and reflection in the window is truly amazing. The line-up of chairs whispers, “stop, rest, enjoy” to me. You have extraordinary talent with both canvas and word art!

    • Jed August 29, 2017 at 4:12 pm - Reply

      Dear Joyce, You are too kind! Thank you for writing and sharing your impressions of the newest painting. You call out the things that were so important for me to render in a way that the painting “worked”. I’m glad you follow my blog and enjoy the writing as well. Stay in touch! Jed P.S. Kathryn is one of my dearest friends!

  9. Kathryn Smith August 29, 2017 at 3:15 pm - Reply

    I love this painting! Your blues are just so lovely. And I love the message as well.

    • Jed August 29, 2017 at 4:08 pm - Reply

      Thank you, dear friend!

  10. Jill August 29, 2017 at 3:05 pm - Reply

    I love it. So peaceful and hot!

    • Jed August 29, 2017 at 4:08 pm - Reply

      Grazie mille, Jill!

  11. mark wholey August 29, 2017 at 2:40 pm - Reply

    Dear Jed, I know from where you have stood as I am standing there now with one canvas. Another I had started and didn’t like the start and just tossed in a head shape and that was all it took to get going. Still the other canvas waits and the same feeling of what to do overrides and inertia results.
    There is also the thinking that my best has been done. I have run out of luck and concepts. Part of me knows that is fear speaking.
    Sharing your story encourages and shows a commonality that resides in many of us.

    • Jed August 29, 2017 at 4:07 pm - Reply

      Thanks for your comments, Mark. We artists, of all sorts, benefit from reminding each other of the hurdles that can keep us from starting and moving forward!

  12. Gaye HART August 29, 2017 at 1:15 pm - Reply

    I looked at the picture. I read your comment. I took a deep breath. I was ‘ present in the moment’ . Thank you. Youtre right. If you wait or procrastinate it may never happen.

    • Jed August 29, 2017 at 4:05 pm - Reply

      Thanks for writing, Gaye. Procrastination can really convince us to stay stuck! I’m all for anything that elicits peace!

  13. Tony August 29, 2017 at 11:34 am - Reply

    Pure peace. Great to see the finished product. Congrats!

    • Jed August 29, 2017 at 4:03 pm - Reply

      Glad that you were able to see the work-in-progress!

  14. Caroline McCall August 29, 2017 at 11:29 am - Reply

    Love this thought and the resulting painting!

    Hope you’re doing well,

    Caroline

    • Jed August 29, 2017 at 4:02 pm - Reply

      Hi, Caroline! So nice to hear from you. I’m glad you like the painting! Hope all is well. Jed

  15. Robin Fink August 29, 2017 at 10:53 am - Reply

    Dear Jed,

    This painting is stunning. You have such TALENT!!

    Just gorgeous! xoxo, Robin

    • Jed August 29, 2017 at 4:01 pm - Reply

      Thank you, Robin! I’m so glad you like my latest “baby”!

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