Buddha Seated in Meditation

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Today I spent a lovely winter afternoon wandering the Art Institute of Chicago with my husband.  In the Alsdorf Galleries, there is an impressive sculpture of the Buddha seated in meditation from India, c. 12th century. Along with many other people, I spent some time studying the piece, reading about its history and listening to my audio guide reveal an unseen story.  I marveled at the Buddha’s size, condition, and gentle expression and thought about its journey to Chicago’s art wonderland.

As we meandered all over the museum, I passed the sculpture several times, the last just as the gallery was about to close and was nearly empty. I stopped to take a photo and felt more connected and inspired by the Buddha than my previous visits. It struck me that in meditation it is hard to allow thoughts, ideas, details and crowds to fall away. And then, occasionally, if I wait long enough, there are quiet moments bursting with stillness, inspiration, love, connection and maybe even peace. It has been several weeks since my last meditation session, but today, watching the Buddha diligently seated in meditation, juxtaposed against the surrounding chaos, a little bit of tranquility found me.

Luminous Collage

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It is officially winter which means more time inside and more time for reading great books and fun art projects. During a recent creativity day, I produced these three little luminous collages. What I love most about this particular collage technique is that I never quite know what each piece will look like until the very end. Here is a brief luminous collage tutorial if you are interested in creating your own little masterpieces.

Just a warning before you get started, art is messy. I recommend putting a protective layer on your creative station surface, recycled paper bags work great. Also, due to toxicity, these materials are not recommend for children.

Step 1: Paint canvas with acrylic paint and allow it to dry. I like Lumiere paints because the beautiful metallic and pearl colors create depth and a luminous quality in the final result.

Step 2: Collage tissue paper, old greeting cards, newspapers, books, trinkets, etc. onto the canvas and allow to dry. I use Liquitex Matte Medium Gel because I prefer a matte finish and it doesn’t wrinkle the collage pieces.

Step 3: Apply oil paints of various colors and smear with linseed oil to get a creamy consistency. Make sure you have a window open for ventilation. Student oil sets are great because they come with a variety of colors for experimentation.

Step 4: Use old recycled towel scraps and natural turpenoid to remove some, but not all of the oil paint from the collage until you achieve the desired effect. You can use rubber or latex gloves if you don’t want to get oil paint all over your hands. This step is the most messy.

Step 5: Allow to dry. Depending on the amount of oil paint, it can take anywhere from a few days to several weeks to dry. The result is a beautiful, layered work of art that reveals the Lumiere paint and personal collage pieces.