April 1 through 30
City Center Art Lounge and main hallway
300 Page Street, SF 94102
John Muir Elementary Watercolor Paintings
Kindergarten — Third Grade
Art Teacher: Sarah Allison
For the third year in a row, the young artists of John Muir School (kindergarten through third grade) will be exhibiting their work at San Francisco Zen Center’s City Center location. The work on display will be watercolor paintings created after practicing breathing exercises as well as using music as meditation while painting. While listening to music students painted emotional responses to the rhythm and lyrics.
In the first series of watercolor paintings, students practiced their usual three deep breaths at the hit of the art basu bell before starting. Students explored the bleeding technique by wetting the entire paper then letting colors bleed as the water moved the paint.
For the second set of paintings, students practiced deep belly “balloon” breathing along with theta wave sounds. Music was the facilitator of their painting meditation. Students were completely in the moment, quiet, and letting the brush dance across the paper. The music selection started with deep theta waves by Stephen Halpern for the breathing exercises and moved into the study of African American musicians to pay tribute to their great influence on pop culture, civic action, beauty, and love. The paintings were done as a quick study emotional exploration, each only for the duration of the song. Songs included The Freedom Singers’ “Woke Up,” Louis Armstrong’s “What A Wonderful World,” Aretha Franklin’s “Respect,” Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed and Delivered (I’m Yours),” and Whitney Houston “My Love Is Your Love.”
To practice the kid-friendly deep belly balloon breathing as taught by the Chopra Center:
Think of your favorite color and picture a giant balloon of that color in your mind.
Take a slow, deep inhale through the nose, filling up your belly with air as if trying to blow up a giant [favorite color] balloon. As an option, you can also stretch your arms open and overhead to represent expansion and the big balloon.
When your balloon is totally full, hold your breath at the top, and then you can “pop the balloon” (gesture finger to belly) and you can fall down as you exhale.