The Inspiration

Most of my paintings are meditation born. That is, an inspiration will come during meditation or at a time when my mind is quiet. Often it will be an intangible subject such as a quality or a particular color. For instance, this painting is called “Vastness.” The idea came during meditation while I was trying to expand my consciousness toward infinity.

Vastness is a painting by Nayaswami Jyotish

Once this ethereal quality came, then a train of thought followed that went something like this. “How do I portray the characteristic of vast expansion?” Now, I am not personally attracted to do completely abstract paintings, nor am I content simply to paint with photographic realism. I land somewhere in-between: like trying to build a bridge between the astral world and the physical one we inhabit, a sort of astral impressionism.

So, returning to this painting, I began to ask myself, “What image would capture the quality of vastness?” Immediately an image of mountains came into my forehead. Next, “What kind of mountains?” The answer: high ones, that lead off into infinity. “Am I in them or looking at them in the distance?” It seemed obvious that I should be right there, in them.

Finally, “Where am I located, and what am I viewing?” I’m standing on a peak looking higher and seeing an image of not just rocks and peaks, but also the vastness of consciousness. So I placed Master, my personal connection to Infinity, just above me, and perhaps reachable with a bit of effort, which expresses the inner feeling of my relationship with him.

The Process

Having a clear inspiration and a fairly clear image in mind, I was ready to put it on canvas. My methods have evolved over time, but this is what I do now. First I make some sketches, called “thumbnails.” This gives me a quick way to try out ideas and get the major elements in place. Then, I make a more detailed sketch, but not so detailed that it blocks the ability to be spontaneous. Then I paint, using three phases. I quickly “block in” the elements of the painting, getting everything in the right place. Next, I put in details and shading, trying to get everything to look the way I want, with the light and shadows right. Finally, I work on the details. Along the way I have to keep asking, “Is this expressing the original inspiration?”

Interestingly, this is much the same process that Swami Kriyananda used when he was writing. First he tried to clarify his inspiration. Then, holding onto that, he quickly captured it on paper so that he didn’t lose the ideas. Then he went back to bring magnetism, adding stories and examples. Finally, he polished the sentences, paying particular attention to the rhythm of the words. He would sometimes edit a piece forty or fifty times before he felt that it was just right. Creativity, whether in painting or writing, has to come from inspiration, but it takes hard work to put it into form.

The Lessons

Painting for me is not an end in itself, but a way to participate in the flow of divine grace. It gives me joy while I am doing it and joy in sharing. I let everyone use these images freely, since I don’t feel they belong to me.

Swami Kriyananda encouraged my art, saying, “You are too much in your mind. This will help you to be more creative and to develop your intuitive side more.” And so it has proved. I am deeply grateful to Divine Mother for helping me express Her beauty in this way.

In joy,

Nayaswami Jyotish

P.S. Devi and I recently published a book called Stand Unshaken!, with thirty of these paintings accompanied by short excerpts from our blogs. If you’re interested you can find it here.

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23 Comments

  1. Awesome !!! I just love the way you captured your whole process of painting Jyotish Ji and Swamiji’s writings. Both very astral and uplifting. Your paintings are vibrant, joyful, unique and outstanding. Timely blog Ji for me (just starting a new lockdown activity). Thank you for the beautiful inspiration.

  2. Dear Nayaswami Jyotish Ji,

    Thank you for this blog!

    We enjoy your artwork and now enjoyed reading the process. A very important message for us to practice from these lines “I don’t feel they belong to me.”

    With Gratitude,
    Prem

  3. This painting is my current favorite 😍. Thank you. And thank you for giving me a glimpse of your process. Delightful. Namaste.

  4. ….. And when the consciousness expands….. Along with it seeds latent within start to sprout and shoots blossom! After all every cell of our DNA’s are potent with memories of lifetimes – both good and not so good ones but at the end actually everything matters or rather does not matter!
    The two extremes are always tending towards infinity with no meaning, not too much logic or reason to attach and let that pure conscious spirit seek it’s quench, seek it’s destiny and evolve… Yet again this lifetime too! (As it waited & waited & waited to get this GIFT OF A PRECIOUS HUMAN BODY TO TAKE BIRTH IN)…. TO BE AWHILE AS A FORM & IDENTITY FROM IT’S FORMLESS SELF.

  5. Dear Nyaswami Jyotish

    Thank you Sir for sharing this. Thank you so much.
    I am not an artist or a writer, but your words and painting stirred something in me.
    A love for you and your Monks, and Yogananda.
    I would love to have a copy or print iof these Mountains and Yogananda for my home.
    With great love
    Michelle

  6. Thank you dear Jyotish for sharing the steps you take to express the inspiration you receive from Divine Mother to paint your paintings. I love to enter the beautiful places you go with Master and Swami. They are so sublime and give me sight of where someday I can live all the time. With love and gratitude, bhajana

  7. Love your paintings, Jyotish. Thank you for sharing your creative process as well as Swami’s for writing.

  8. Gorgeous painting! A feeling of soaring when I look at it. Thanks for sharing your process and art. 🕉☮

  9. Thank you so much for sharing. I suspect a lot of us are creative types, and this was so timely. I love this painting too, and am looking forward to seeing more using the provided link. Thanks again.

  10. Know that your artwork is a gift that touches and uplifts many people. We met many years ago when Ananda LA was in its first iteration. I’m looking forward to getting involved again with Ananda. As Yogananda told Kriyananda, “you have an important work to do”.

  11. Thank you so much for sharing your creative process and your paintings. I love how each of us creates for a different purpose. I paint unplanned messes that I am challenged to create beauty out of. I love looking at your paintings – there is a vastness behind all of them.

  12. Thank you Jyotish for for your very clear explanation of the creative process! As a creative type myself, I have found
    that to be true, meditation is where I get a lot of my inspiration. Thank you for sharing your creative path and your work. Aum.

  13. Jyotish, Thanks for this good piece. Hearing your process inspires me to proceed. I’ve been facing a block for the past 7 months and I’m really ready to start painting again!
    One day soon I’ll come up to Ananda again — it’s been too long!
    With love and light, Marjorie

  14. Dear Jyotish,
    This picture is breath taking. A brilliant setting for the expansion of consciousness.
    Thank you for sharing it.

    In Master,
    janakidevi
    P.S. The shades of blue are magnetic.

  15. Namaskar. Wonderful and blissful panting. Super explanation the greatness of creation and our connection with creation

  16. Thank you Jyotishji,
    this is a wonderful practical inspiration as to how we can draw everything as an intuitive flow and also keep in touch with that flow throughout the process. Jai Guru!

  17. Hello
    Thanks for the blog and for the paintings. I liked them so much, they give me peace , happiness and joy !

  18. thank you Jyotish for explaining your process of painting. I always enjoy your paintings, and especially the ones I have on my walls. Now I can look at them in an even deeper way, remembering your explanation of your process. I so enjoy being at the sea with you in your paintings, I feel the expansion and calmness in them.

    Blessings, Gloria

  19. Thank you for the blog, I have the same painting on “vastness” as my phone lock screen, I truly admire the essence of the painting. It brings me inspiration, calmness and a sense of expansion in my meditations and everyday life in general. I’m grateful to your paintings and the Ananda community for sharing inspiration and wisdom all across the globe.

    Love,
    Manshweta

  20. Thank you for sharing your personal process, Jyotish, and for relating it Swamiji’s writing process. Very helpful!
    bless you, Omprakash

  21. Thank you…definitely a feeling of vastness and soaring with God as Nature!

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