Painting, Divination & Peace


mountainaboveMountain Above; Water Below available on Etsy

This painting is of my childhood swimming hole, set deep in the mountains of Appalachia.  The title comes from the literal image of a mountain above and water below.  This reminded me of the iChing hexagram, “Meng,” which symbolizes “Mountain Above and Water Below.”

There are many different forms of divination; tarot cards, tea leaf reading, gazing in a crystal ball or shiny surface, etc.  In China, the method of iChing developed.  It uses a method of throwing yarrow stalks or 3 coins thrown six times to produce the hexagram.  There are different theories as to why this works, perhaps it is an effect of our subconscious mind communicating to us, some say it is an effect of quantum physics or that small things in the world can reflect the larger patterns that exist.  In any case, it has existed for at least 3,000 years probably longer and many people find it a useful tool.

Hexagram 4 – “Meng” is also known as “Youthful Folly.”  That’s not necessarily a bad thing. It is an opportunity for learning.  It also reminds you of the pleasures of childhood and to embrace that.  We can use that in our learning too, because when learning is fun, we remember it better.  But it’s also good to think over that time and release bad habits from then and replace it with mature knowledge.

I see in this painting the peace and innocence of childhood; a time before adult concerns and worries.  Looking at it brings me back to a state of peace.  When I paint, I drop into a place of unconcern.  I let the images flow into me and out of my paint brush, producing a vision of tranquility.

A good affirmation for this day would be: “I breath in peace and it flows through me into the world.”

More peace is always needed.

  • Patricia Robin Woodruff

The Zen of Creativity


“Creativity is more than just being different. Anybody can plan weird; that’s easy. What’s hard is to be as simple as Bach. Making the simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity.”  – Charles Mingus

A perfect example of that is found in sumi-e brush painting.  It is a style of Oriental art that is very zen.  With a minimum of brush strokes, you capture the essence, the energy, the “chi” of an object.  While many of these ancient paintings are strictly black and white, the concepts can be brought into colorful watercolor painting too.

11"x14" watercolor

Cascades of Blue 11″x14″ watercolor               by Patricia Robin Woodruff

The poetry I like is the same way, with phrases that strikes right to the very heart of the feeling.  Like the mystic poet, Rumi said:

“Roses open laughing.”

He describes the beauty and joy of nature blooming in a way that makes my heart bloom open as well.  That to me is the pure beauty and gracefulness of chi in poetry.

So that leaves me with the question, how do we bring our life in alignment with chi?  Meditation and yoga occur to me.  But where I find myself the most in line with the energy of the Universe is through the creative arts… when I am lost in writing a story or time totally disappears while I am painting.  So as an affirmation for this day:

“I open myself to the energies of the Universe.  It is an unquenchable source for me to draw inspiration from.”

– Patricia Robin Woodruff