Singing With One Breast

Above: Singing With One Breast, Acrylic, Oil, Collage, Pencil, Ink, 45”x43”, 2014

Singing With One Breast displays the contrast between inner and outer realities that arise when I meditate. Most of the figure consists of the Expressionism style, wild colors and textures that connote the intense feelings going on inside me, especially when I contemplate losing a breast. The highly contrasting colors, blues and oranges, are opposites on the color wheel. When placed next to each other, they vibrate with maximum energy. The colorful slap-dash strokes and smears appear agitated, like my experience when doctor’s suspected breast cancer. Luckily, I had a near miss and didn’t lose a breast. But one-breasted female figures continue to reoccur in my drawings and paintings; the fear apparently deep.

At the same time, the relaxed hands and feet seem peaceful and realistic, just as an outside observer might view them while watching someone meditate. The abdomen appears orderly with layered geometric shapes, as if this woman, at the core of her being, feels grounded in her center of gravity. The front foot, in high contrast contour drawing with a black border, visually comes towards the viewer with its pure white veneer.

I combine art styles to depict the various realities I experience while I meditate. Altogether, my singing woman contains four art styles: abstract expressionist, realistic modeled drawing, contour drawing and collaged geometric shapes beneath her stomach. Usually, a single piece of art has one art style, such as an abstract expressionist painting or a contour drawing or a realistic modeled drawing.

Each day, when I sit cross-legged, straight-backed, my breathing slows and I try to become peaceful. Oddly, at this time, my mind often lets emotional experiences rise to the surface. I might remember someone who hurt my feelings. Or a time when I needed to apologize to someone. For me, it seems as if a peaceful meditation invites self-sabotage within. If I could see these emotions, they would look like my abstract oranges and blues. To experience the uproar in meditation is special because I have the opportunity to observe it and gently disengage my ego. I’m not always successful because sometimes I silently continue an argument that might have happened ten years before.

However, when I’m able to experience some detachment and wish the former opponent well, I let go of the turmoil and return to a peaceful meditation, symbolized by my tranquil hands and feet. I feel connected to my anchoring center of gravity providing mental and emotional ballast. Bliss. This is the nectar that draws me to my special cushion every day. This is when meditation feels like a song. I’m willing to endure, contemplate and attempt to resolve the emotional quagmires that my mind pulls forward. 

Bit by bit, over the years, as I continue my contemplative practice, the inner and outer realities both become more peaceful. As my difficulties lessen, I’ve learned that a home of calm awaits me when I meditate, a place where I sing with inner joy.


2022 July 15-November 13
Kaethe Kauffman – Yoga: Interiore e Eterno (Yoga: Interior & Eternal)
Castello Gallery 925 Galleria
Venice, Italy
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