Stillness in Art

by | Mar 28, 2010 | Blog | 7 comments

A recent inquiry regarding the idea of stillness in a work of art got my thinking juices flowing. For me, stillness is when we allow ourselves those moments to be connected to our higher self, or a higher place or source. This connection allows us to leave the realm of physical, material, emotional and instead flow into the universal vastness of “God” (or our own concept of the nonphysical). When we have this connection to our true source, it feels like stillness as we are in a timeless non-physical realm.

True stillness in a work of art comes from the artist and their process – when both are also connected to this higher source. Stillness in a work of art will rarely, if at all, come from a process that is overly mental, overly emotional and too thought out or controlled/contrived. That means there are no real tools, techniques or formulas that would allow this powerful connection to come through the work. Instead, overly mental processes, pinched off from source, create a blocked type of static. A painting is 2 D which by itself encourages a stillness, a time away from the normal reality viewing of our physical world, and propels the viewer into an alternate reality. This is a 2-way street. Artists can make the best work possible, and yet unless the viewer allows a certain amount of time and focus for viewing it, could miss out on all the rich potential in a work of art. So the stillness in a painting requires the connection of the artist in process as well as the viewer.

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Hand painting pink wall with sponge.

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  1. landscape painting

    Your post is quite amazing and interesting.Getting a lot of useful information and funny

  2. Jacqueline

    Nancy, your thoughts on stillness are "priceless," as they say. As an art therapist, I know this well; however, you've stated it far more beautifully and accurately than I. Jackie

  3. Marion Augustus Buen Orosa

    Art has been my life and I totally agree about what you said having this "being together with your inner self". I think that this is really where we draw our creativity.

  4. Marie Kazalia

    A painting I completed in May has that quality. I have received several comments on how "powerful" the painting is etc, on Facebook
    I started out with an idea and lost that in the work, and went off in an unpredictable direction, new to me. I felt spiritual energy at work directing me, or, to use the word Nancy uses–stillness. In my disconnection or stillness in my studio work space in a rural location I was able to connect with my materials via an energy that I do not command.
    Daily I do light a votive candle before an image of an ancient goddess, and sometimes burn incense…
    I am unembarrassed by this, after living as an expatriate in a few Asian countries and seeing this
    done before a variety of gods and goddesses by many…
    Nancy, did you move from NYC to New Mexico? If so, it seems like a good move color-wise in relation to your work. Good luck& best wishes in your new home!

  5. Kevin

    It's very pleased for me to find your blog through Google. I am a young painter from China. My website is: I started to learn painting at the age of fifteen. From then on, I keep on improving my painting skill day by day. I always believe that I can be better. I am also doing the business of oil paintings now. There are plenty of helpful information on painting techniques in your blog. I think, I can benefit a lot from them. Thank you so much for sharing with us your wisdom.
    Best regards,

  6. rocky

    art is our life…
    good luck !!

  7. artbydesign

    My husband and I share your thoughts on life and art. I am also an artist, will have a website up soon. Working on that right now. Thankyou for your helpful information on art techniques. Very helpful. Stay in touch would love to hear from you. [email protected]


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About Nancy

Professional fine artist Nancy Reyner’s blog about art, painting and creativity. Her career spans over 30 years. She lives in Santa Fe in the US. Subscribe below for free tips on art and painting.

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