Mindfulness is a hot topic in healthy living. And it should be. Our mental health is So. Damn. Important and I'm happy to be living in the age where our society is starting to recognize this and take action to remove some of the irrational stigma associated with mental health.
This movement could not have come at a better time either. We have become so overwhelmed with… well, everything. Crazy jobs that we can never seem to disconnect from, family, keeping the house clean, eating healthy, exercise, making the mortgage/rent, keeping up on social media, visiting friends, information overload… seriously, there doesn't seem to be enough hours in the day.
Yet, if you're anything like me, those last five minutes of yoga… savasana… or those ten minutes you set aside for meditation… well, it's rarely a success. It's become so hard for us to focus our minds in the present, even for ten short minutes! I suppose that's why they call this a "practice" because it ain't easy and practice and persistence is what it takes.
For me, right now, there is only one thing in this world that can truly bring me into the present moment. (Hint: it isn't in a sweaty yoga studio and it's not sitting in silence, cross legged with my eyes closed). It's watching the sun set.
Sitting on the dock with a tea in hand watching the sun dip down and listening to the sound of water lapping against the wood is beyond peaceful. I forget about nearly everything… there's no stress, worries, or fear… all that matters is the colours, slowly changing as the sun gives a beautiful show on it's way out. I feel a combination of gratitude for the beauty and peacefulness. I also know it won't last forever so I need to enjoy the moment...to be in the present.
I'm the weirdo at our cottage who, mid conversation, will drop everything, to catch a photo of the sunset. Just when I think I've balanced the colours correctly on my camera, a new palette will appear and I'll have to get another shot. I see this with others as well. The way we take photos of the electric or soft colours. To try and capture that special moment. However, the photos never quite do it justice....and so I paint.
Sunsets have become somewhat of an obsession of mine as I try to capture that small moment of mindfulness in my own unique manner. To bring that feeling of being present into my work and thus into the homes of my collectors.
I thought I would share some of my photos that have helped to inspire my "Sunset Series". My main 'muse' for this series is our family cottage up in the Kawartha's, yet there is also inspiration from Lake St. John (the most fiery sunsets I have ever seen), and a few paintings from my cottage kickoff contest inspired by sunsets on Lake Huron, Georgian Bay, and Lake Muskoka.
I try not to be biased when it comes to sunsets… although I tend to be a sucker for bright, fiery colours. In my series, I've tried to balance out the bold with more subtle tones in a few of the pieces. Here's a few of the sunsets that served as inspiration for the series:
light and golden
bright and bold
I believe a stunning sunset can crack even the most harsh person. The next sunset you see, I challenge you to grab your favourite beverage and simply enjoy the show…in present time. And if you're heartless and hate nature and the explosion of beautiful colours... well... I hope you find your own 'sunset' that will help bring you to the present moment and allow you to take care of your own mental health… because that stuff is important!
Leave a comment below and let me know your favourite type of sunsets!
Check out the sunset series here.