Pain and Concentration

My pain started again. This time it started gradually on my lower left side. I tried lying back and visualizing it. It seemed to be a yellow glow. I thought if I acknowledged its presence with my mind and breathed in and out calmly, it would abate. “Breathe in. Think of all the energy coming into my left side. Hold. Breathe out. All the pain energy leaves my left side, leaving calm muscles, pain lessens…[repeat],” I thought to myself.

It didn’t work. It got worse, in fact. Other parts of my body relaxed. My shoulders listened to my initial all-bodyparts call for calmness. But shoulders are among the dumbest muscle groups. They’ll listen to anything and try to obey.

Today’s watercolor experiment:

I wanted to depict a sense of concentration interrupted, so I began with the interruptor: the latex resist.

I poured out a bit and was going to twirl my paper like it was pizza dough, to get the centripetal forces spreading the liquid latex, but that didn’t work. The splatter pattern was good enough, however to accomplish my purpose.

I inked in a couple of closed eyelids with black india ink.

I began painting by making a disk of hansa yellow and surrounded it with Prussian blue so they would mix. In the center of the yellow disk, I dropped some winsor red.

After the first layer dried, I created a ring of lemon yellow pigment around the existing red spot and introduced cadmium red light into the center. I allowed them to mix by using my brush to joining the two pools of pigment. Then I once again used Prussian blue around the periphery of the yellow ring to get a third pigment-mixing interface.

After stripping off the rubber resist, I inked the edges with different color inks and painted the internal area with ink instead of watercolor paint.

Watercolor and Pen and Ink: Abstract Expressionistic

16″x12″ 140# Cold Pressed Watercolor Block


The serene mixing of colors in this composition is interrupted by a foreign object. That is what I wanted to depict: A knife through the visualization of pain, causing the failure of concentration. A different visual interpretation could be that some complex shape is floating over an already diffused mixture of colors. The mechanism of the mind hasn’t touched the pain or influenced it in any way. It is floating above it, observing.

I have to brush up on my neurophilosophy, but I get the sense that mind and body are inextricably linked. There is no duality, no “mind substance” different than “body substance”. I believe that the mind part of the body observes as well as influences the body in all its conscious and unconscious functions.

The fact that I can’t influence my own pain with my mind is only a testament to my poorly trained, out of touch “mindbody“. I use this term in the same spirit as the term “spacetime” describes a post Newtonian way of looking at space.

7 thoughts on “Pain and Concentration

  1. The watercolour and ink painting is beautiful – and convey the feeling you wanted to create. This duality between diffused and sharp colours and forms are very expressive. I am sorry that you are bothered by pain. I wish all the best for you.

    Liked by 3 people

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