American lotus (Nelumbo lutea) [part 1]

Unfinished watercolor painting of an American lotus


When I think of meditation, I think of the lotus flower. Googling to discover why, I found this explanation of the symbolism of the lotus flower in Buddhism. Though the plant is rooted in the mud, the blossom stands pure above the water. Practicing meditation, we bring our awareness out of the mud of our mind-chatter into the fresh air of the centerless center.

More googling revealed that the American lotus (Nelumbo lutea) is endangered. This is probably because of habitat loss.



  • February is a short month, made shorter for me
  • I am scheduled for (baclofen pump replacement) surgery on March 1.
  • I will lose about a week of newsletter/art preparation time.
  • I can only paint on weekends (because that is when my husband is available to help me arrange my painting space and
  • I don’t [yet] have other help),

NOW THEREFORE: I give myself permission to work on this painting across TWO  months. [Next month’s theme is “wisdom,” and self-compassion is a shining element of wisdom.]

I began by sketching the blossom in yellow paint. I used yellow-green to begin to indicate the shadows of folded petals. Then I painted blue over the water area. I tried to use a long, horizontal strokes when possible. I over painted the bottom half of the water with purple.

Using purple gave me the idea of painting very light purple over some of the folded petal areas. I used dark green to make leaf shapes. End of February.

When it came time to post the UNFINISHED painting in my newsletter, I felt very hesitant. My ego did not want that published where everybody could see it. It was important to me that people understood I am in process with it. I assuaged the situation by adding “NOT YET FINISHED” in text over the scan. Self-compassion or cowardice? I’m not sure.


  • now that I’ve read the Wikipedia entry, I have a better idea of the relative measurements of blossoms and leaves. Had I read that earlier, I might have sketched the painting a little differently, with larger leaves.
  • Painting is a good way for me to practice acceptance. I have an idea of the mark I want to make, but only limited control over the brush. The marks I make are not what I expect. Watercolor requires me to integrate those marks into the painting. No covering up!
  • Painting is, for me, a meditative activity. My attention is completely on what I am doing. No thinking necessary, just make a mark, see what I’ve done, and make the next.
  • The mind-chatter comes later, when I look at what I’ve done after the work session. Judgments! Comparisons! Big Emotions! Deep breaths and (in the next work session) start again.

To be continued…


Posted on

February 24, 2022

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