It was sage that burnt as we passed the smouldering branch hand to hand to all gathered in a circle, as we followed Monica in meditation to prepare ourselves for a most singular experience at the Third Eye Art Workshop, an evening of creativity and painting, and for me a chance to meld these with photography and writing.
Sage smoke cleansed us, as its spirals of smoke redrew our bodily shape, reminding us of our essence, revealing us to a simpler us, leaving it to create. Born to the occasion, we called ourselves by our names, stating who we were to Mother Earth and asking her to grant us permission to enter the jungle for inspiration and collect those tokens that were to inspire our collage. A sort of baptism was implicit in this act.
Sweetgrass followed sage in the circle, weaving us together as it did for Canadian native women in their tradition of weaving it in river banks where it is harvested, its pleasant essence welcoming the creative energy of the jungle around.
Each of us took a pinch of tobacco from a piece of pottery out of Monica’s hand, after the breathing exercises and a Lotus mudra placed on our navel. Native American tradition uses tobacco as a token for offerings, which in our case we presented to Mother Earth as we walked in the jungle upon exiting the meditation circle.
We gathered at the long common table and sat on benches. A comfortable breeze swaying the leaves of trees to a soft rumor. What had inspired us as we walked along the jungle walkways at Holistika, was of the essence. Operational details – such as learning there was no green colour and we had to make from the basic ones – were quickly solved, as they had been carefully organised by artist Naomi Gittoes, Monica and friends, and we were immersed in the peaceful creation of our painting-collages in no time.
Naomi drew her vision on a large canvas upfront, as an example. We followed with ours, and later, some did follow on her canvas as well, in a collaborative work of art. As we relaxed, the group shifted from individual work into a creative collective of artists. Murmur rose to a chat and then to loud fun. Artists traded their canvases for bodies and continued their work. Paintings and drawing sketches even got into my pocket notebook as Naomi, Jessica and Sam painted on it and chanted. Works of at sprouted all over.
Something about being in flux while creating, manifested strongly. Abandoned to our muses, the feeling of unconditional dedication, our surrendering to that being dictated through us, was totally augmented by a large group of people doing it in the same time and place. This was a second meditation. While the first one brought us to the doorstep, this second one saw us transform into the creative tribe we got to be, each of us vibrating to a single creative tone. Even our individuality was redefined as an result of our belonging to the tribe and its greater meaning and objectives.
My painting spoke of different coexisting dimensions, a result of my very recent experiences living at the beach, in the so very thin veils separating them if at all, that are characteristic of Tulum. As I walked I thought of big plant leaves as giving access to other dimensions, where multiple paths cross as we are going and coming at the very same instant.
As my painting dried, yellow coloured energy saving light, lit the space where we still chatted before leaving. As I stood with it for a photo to be taken of me, a beautiful beetle landed on my canvas. It was of a pastel emerald colour and had accents of light brown and an incredible metallic copper stripe along its body, through its concealed wings. Copper reflections were intense as a lighthouse for me, under the yellow light and they did point me in the right direction. The one I’m flowing now in. I took it as a good sign, net by the Universe for me to continue this path of art, to keep touching others with it, through photography, writing and – who knows – painting, ahead. It was a priceless takeaway, as if the creative tribe belonging hadn’t been enough already.
I asked Naomi about her path as an artist. “It takes a lot of bravery” she said.
I did not know her school years in Australia had been rough, specially for others trying to push the conventional body of education and values on to her. Of course she resisted authority and was considered a trouble maker. Exactly what I would look up to of a leader behaviour, or an art guerrilla fighter, in the awakening of consciousness. She quit school and worked in modelling – she’s a tall athletic woman -, make-up artist, and other trades until she earned a scholarship to study at a prestigious design school, and strived on from there, having decided her calling was that of an artist, and accepting of its responsibilities and consequences. She is now a successful young artist, exhibiting her work as much in Vancouver than in Sydney, has collectors and sells her work well. She’s off to Cerdeña visiting an ailing friend, as she tends to art commitments in Italy as well. Her work has been nominated a favourite to win an important Australian art endowment, shortly.
A traveller, as much as a deep diver and a full time artist, it does so together with partner Ben, a smart and most amicable person.
I had the pleasure of making some photos of such a session which are part of this posting, so you do not miss the opportunity when the workshop happens again.
The evening blessed us with a crescent moon, which was but two days from full and that lit our way – well at least mine as I rode my bike back to town – to a wonderful pizza dinner where the tribe shared to celebrate creation.
The third eye art workshop and the creative tribe by Juan Ayza M. is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
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