What it’s like being in the zone when your painting?

[caption id="attachment_302" align="alignnone" width="287" caption="Artist Ann Rea"]Artist Ann Rea[/caption] When I paint, in order to paint well, I have to be completely present. It’s very similar to practicing meditation except I’m moving. Focused only on my visual perception I’m scanning and comparing shapes, values, and the colors shaped by light in front of me. People ask if they can watch me paint. It’s like asking if you can watch me pray.  No.  It’s not a performance. Although I will admit that I have performed for the camera, kind of like a cooking show.  The producer of NBC’s “In Wine Country” wanted me to paint an entire painting while be filmed, and interviewed, and adjusted, and during taking several stop and start takes.  “Are you kidding?  Sorry, I’m just not that talented.” I replied. What I did do was create the same image in three stages of development.  During the first takes I whipped out the charcoal sketched canvas, the next takes I took out the half done piece, and then I left the final strokes of the most finished piece.  It looks like I did it all in one take.  But really I'll paint several field studies and then I'll edit them.  If they don't make the cut they're destroyed. I’m painting this week in my studio, sketching and trying out new painting techniques and approaches.  I have to block out this sustained time to develop work.  There are very few emails or phone conversations.  I always feel more centered after I completed a painting that I’m satisfied with.  That’s the best word I can use to describe what it’s like being in the zone when I’m painting, centered and relaxed.
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