My Picasso Picnic

Would you rather listen to today's episode of Viral Mindfulness Monday? I'm going to start reading them to you each week. I'll always start with a sneak peek of a new song I'm learning. And remember, eventually they'll be published at the 'Soundtrack' page as a full piece. Guess who called last night? Yup! Mr. Picnic. Find out what he said in today's audio P.S. (Just like a handwritten letter, your P.S. lands at the end of the recording).

My Picasso Picnic

I’ve been wondering when I first found the flame and fire to start painting. It seems from my memory, there was a single event, a magic moment I could truthfully reference as my muse. Of course the storyteller in me secretly hoped it was Picasso, and that it happened one day in France. I bolted to my travel writings and scoured the summer entries from 2002.

May. Oh how fun to reminisce again! I had just finished a successful first year of Graduate School in Social Work and was embarking upon a summer internship in Eastern Europe. I would be working in the counseling center, on campus, at the American University of Bulgaria, in Blagoevgrad. My very first time out of the country besides Mexico & Canada.

June. I am only two weeks into my internship and already vacationing (“on Holiday”) in Greece with some of the faculty and their family. On Thasos, the Emerald Island, the Northernmost Greek Island geographically part of the Northern Aegean Sea. Circling most of the island on a scooter I found a pristine beach one day filled with gay men. Naked ones. Oy vey! My summer was looking bright.

July would take me to Paris for an extended holiday to meet some of my professors from back home and attend a social work conference. Then to Bern, Switzerland to touch the birthplace of my mother.

Bam. There it was. Proof. Truth. Facts confirmed.

11 July 2002: 

“I had a great time wandering the streets this morning. I bumped into the Musèe Picasso. I’ve found a new love for artwork. Picasso used many different mediums and produced so many pieces. It’s truly inspiring. In fact, I am determined to start painting. I’ve always wanted to try oil on canvas (Paris, France).”

My very first ‘picnic’ with Picasso. Fourteen years later and I’m working on my very first big-boy piece of art. Mixed media on wood. Inspired by the original I saw with my very own eyes in Paris: ‘Reading the Letter’, Oil on canvas, 184 x 105 cm. Do you know how many sketches and first time attempts have landed me to this Summer? Filling up art books, travel journals, and white paper. The infamous white piece of paper. Taunting me. Always offering an opportunity but usually reflecting my doubt, fear and inner critic’s voice.

We always have to start somewhere. I’ve found my starting place usually swims in the deep psyche of untrue stories and thoughts paddling inside my brain. To begin, and even more important, to begin again, demands your mindful and compassionate attention. A presence towards desire. A willingness to do something new in your life. To make a change. Even if it’s a life-or-death change.

I always encourage people to take a small step. A sketch if you will. Fifteen minutes of mediation. Several heartfelt words expressed in humility to your Divine Higher Presence. A phone call to a friend or professional asking for help.

Your mindfulness challenge this week is to begin again. Whatever the topic. From art and creativity, to forgiveness and gardening. Pick something and start.

My June beginning again: 20 minutes every day of meditation specific to loving-kindness. This type of daily connection changes everything for me. And I know it. It makes me stronger, and more aware of others, reduces my anxiety and fears, and keeps me relating to that divine higher part of me connected to sprit and soul.

Come away with me on a Summer of Mindfulness. Begin today.

Leave a comment below and declare your starting point. I’d love to support your expansion.

The Summer Picnic challenge is right around the corner. And I’m so excited about the original watercolor I’ll be giving away. Stay tuned!

All my love to your mindful week.

Alexander

Preparing to let the sketches meander and sprout on the wood panel. 16 X 20. I've never painted on wood before. 

Variations on a theme.

Pulled this photo I took at the museum in Paris, right out of my travel album. 

Soft and dreamy watercolor. Considering this for the Summer Picnic Watercolor Give-away.