Wednesday, April 7, 2010

eyes of the heart: photography as contemplative practice

i recently completed another wonderful course offered through the abbey of the arts , entitled eyes of the heart: photography as contemplative practice. now, i am not a photographer, (i didn't even have my own camera prior to this class!) but my decision to enroll was made as a result of the transforming experience i had during a previous abbey of the arts course: way of the monk, path of the artist. eyes of the heart, was similarly revolutionary. one of the best gifts i received through this class was a way to reconnect with a favorite childhood pastime - climbing trees! this body of mine may not be able to climb trees in the traditional sense, but through my camera's zoom function - i can now "climb" to the top of any tree with ease. the eyes of my heart were beginning to possibilities.
during the 6 week class, we were encouraged to go on contemplative walks with camera in hand to see what images we might receive. it was on one of those first few walks that i made the acquaintance of a particular cedar that has become my muse and teacher. i was initially drawn to her because of the interesting lumps and bumps of her trunk, but as i came closer i realized those unusual formations were the result of barbed wire that had been wrapped around her years ago - eventually becoming embedded in her flesh. this was another example of how the eyes of my heart were being opened, which i wrote about here. as i said earlier, i am not a photographer, but i found that i really enjoyed the adventure of contemplative photo-walking and wanted to find a way to integrate some of the photographs i was receiving with my work as a mandala artist. i began experimenting with various computer programs that would allow me to do just that - to create mandalas from source images. as a result of this class, whole new worlds of creative expression have opened before me and i would like to thank christine valters paintner, the founder of the abbey of the arts, and the creator of this course (and others) for another life changing experience! and to my incredibly gifted classmates: thank you for allowing me to see the beauty of life anew through the eyes of your hearts. i dedicate this mandala (cedar bloom) to you all.


Milena said...

Dear Stacy,

The cedar tree images had a profound impact upon me as well - I can see why this tree has become your muse and teacher.

The mandala you created is absolutely beautiful - just like you.


Kel said...

what a gift to receive through your heart eyes

lovely mandala as always

and love the concept of climbing trees with the zoom lens :)

Norm said...

Well said Stacy. It was a terrific opportunity for me to connect with a wonderful bunch of creative, open-minded people as well. Wonderful image!