Practice, practice, practice

A fistful of rocks

Practice, practice, practice.

I told my art teacher my new mantram is practice, practice, practice.

He doesn’t know he is also my new Zen Roshi.

I’m taking a watercolor class this summer–my first–and each painting is a new journey.

I learn to blend colors and try to capture what my eye sees.

Like Zen Buddhism, the point is to see what is in front of you: not what you wish were there.

Have you heard the Heart Sutra?

One of the lines goes something like this:

No eye, no ear, no nose, no tongue, no body, no mind…

Sitting in my watercolor class, distractions fade away, and I have:

No phone, no screen, no music, no computer, no watch…

Taking an art class means uninterrupted time–for a full three hours–to just sit and paint.

My new meditation.

A liberating effect of the class is that I don’t care much what people think of my artwork.

As a complete beginner I know nothing.

In class I’ve painted blueberries, a poppy, a Tigridia bloom, strawflowers in a pot, an aubergine, wild peas and a fistful of rocks.

While traveling with a $3 paint-set I created purple mussels and a salt shaker.

I’m not even embarrassed to show people my efforts.

I figure I can’t do any worse: and I may even get better.

9 August 2017







About Cynthia Coleman Emery

Professor and researcher at Portland State University who studies science communication, particularly issues that impact American Indians. Dr. Coleman is an enrolled citizen of the Osage Nation.
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1 Response to Practice, practice, practice

  1. Cynthia, as a teacher I encourage my students to just make art. I also give way too much homework to support them in making art. As an artist, whose hands continue to become less able, I encourage myself to make art too. It is a good practice and makes my life much fuller.
    Please keep painting and sharing your work with us!


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