Sister Wendy Beckett, the famous British nun and art-critic, offers wise advice to those seeking to learn how to meditate on art. Continuing last week’s blog entry, the third way to get into the habit of meditation is taking time to be alone to meditate. Plan this time into your schedule. Deal with such potential distractions as pets, phones and people by removing yourself for this short time into a secluded space where you can be apart. Take time to simply look. Look into the work. See the colors. Trace with your eyes the composition. Discover the story in the painting or sculpture. See your life reflected in the work. Imagine the artist at work creating the piece. See the brush strokes, the textures, the artistic skill. Sister Wendy offers these words of wisdom.
I think we can only really understand painting if we’re prepared to give the time to contemplate it, to sit silently and look at the work. I do spend time looking. It’s that time, it’s that space, it’s that attention, that art needs to unfold…Only looking will make it clear to one.
Finally, allow the habit of meditating on art to shape your soul. As Sister Wendy tell us, I want art to come into their lives and to affect them. When we place great works of art on a stand in our home and take time to reflect upon these visionary windows, we allow ourselves the opportunity to see into the human soul, into the soul of creation, into the soul of God. So have a ready stack of art postcards to place up onto your meditation stand, and every few days, place a new piece in that sacred place. Through a year, these works of art will begin to work upon our inner lives, bringing a transforming grace upon the soul. According to Sister Wendy, there is no need to pay the big bucks to travel to the world’s great art museums. Better to bring them into your home, into your daily life and enjoy getting into the habit of meditation.
Watercolor painting, “Cathedral Tree” by Stefan Robinson, 2008