Posted by Meditation USA on September 16, 2020
Eun-hee Kim / Artist
Kim Eun-hee is both a housewife and painter. She opened her first solo exhibition in October 2012 under the title Our Paintings. It has been 10 years since she was attracted to the charm of folk painting. This is a show of 26 works including Noando, depicting reeds and geese and Bookgado, depicting bookshelves. Eun-hee said that emptying her mind is like removing a cellophane coating that was covering it. This is the story of painter Eun-hee, who said that drawing with a clean mind is more comfortable.
I Can Draw Better Than That Person: The “Old Me” Always Compared Myself to Others
On a crisp day in autumn, I held my first solo exhibition in Insadong. Rather than promoting pictures, I wanted to provide a place where I could quietly invite my acquaintances and feel relaxed. Fortunately, many people came so I was happy. When I was in the 3rd grade I had a dream of becoming a painter. I was drawing dolls and making clothes and my father said, ‘You’re very good.’ I think that compliment spurned my desire to become an artist. Since then, I have never thought of a different path.
I chose oriental painting as my major in college and after graduating I met my husband-to-be at my job and we were married. Then one day, I started painting with the desire to find my life. I was happy with that. At first, it was good just to draw. Then, I also wanted to join an art exhibit. But even if I attended a minor competition, I didn’t have a career to put forward. So, I participated in the competition and the group exhibition. However, I was upset that the people with whom I have exhibited or competed received better reviews and more rewards than me. I thought, ‘I can draw well too… That person isn’t even better than me… ‘
I Was Surprised to Discover That I Have a Broad Mind Like the Infinite Universe
I couldn’t get away from that thought. Next time, what kind of competition should I enter? That’s how my painting can sometimes restrain me, but I didn’t think it was a problem. Then in 2006, I started this meditation. My son and I were introduced to this method by a younger sister and after meditation, my mind changed dramatically. My son has always been the top student in his whole school since he was young, but he was stressed because of his obsession with being the smartest in his class. One day he said to me, “I’ve always strived to take first place before, but now I am able to enjoy learning little by little no matter what happens. If I think this way, I realized that I still can get the first place.” As for my son, when he learned the joy of learning, it really touched me. Now he is able to enjoy his studies without any stress.
I also practiced this meditation. Looking back on my past life I have lived, and discarded it and one day the feeling of ‘freedom’ burst out from the bottom of my heart. I was so surprised. It was the first time I’ve ever felt like that. I thought I lived a good life, freely and happily. But, that wasn’t true at all. After meditating for a while, it felt like I had been stuck in the same place all my life, and then something suddenly burst from my heart. As I kept throwing away that mind, I was surprised to realize that the “me” I thought of as my “self” didn’t exist and that the “real me” was an existence with a mind as broad as the infinite universe.
Emptying My Mind is Removing the Cellophane From My Life
Actually, my life had always been smooth. I grew up comfortably with good parents, my children grew up well, my husband’s business was going well and my in-laws were very good to us. I thought I was happy with everything. But still, I didn’t know how to appreciate it. Even while doing my favorite things, I kept comparing myself to others and confined myself in my sense of inferiority.
I thought that pride was the most important thing in a person’s life. After all, painting was also my pride. I must draw better than others, listen to praise and be recognized. But at that moment, life became much bigger than my painting. To draw a picture is to express the world of my mind because my mind captured that picture. As I meditated more, I discarded all of my pictures one by one: Memories related to my art such as brushes, art books and museums I had visited. Then, eventually, drawing became more natural and comfortable for me. In the end, emptying my mind was like taking off a piece of cellophane from my life. Even if I take off the cellophane, the original thing remains.
I Want to Draw a Selfless, Comfortable Picture and Live My Life That Way
After I got rid of the artificial lenses of my mind I called cellophane, I knew how to draw the pictures without any mind. Now, I am able to enjoy drawing. There is no saying that I have to draw well or what color to paint. If I just paint naturally, the picture is finished. It makes me wonder if the attitude of the Masters knew this when they painted. Our ancestors drew pictures not to be evaluated by someone, but to look deeper into themselves. So, I tried to empty my mind before drawing. These days it really touched me deeply that I have to get rid of these thoughts. Whatever I do, if I have a lot of thoughts, I get caught up in it and then I cannot concentrate and I cannot live truly in the moment.
An elderly man came to my exhibition and he said of my work: “It’s good because you’re not selfish about painting.” I really liked that and I was very grateful for his feedback. Another person said, “I just want to sit comfortably in this gallery,” which I’m also thankful to hear.
I hope the paintings I create are the most comfortable paintings when I hang them at home. Just as folk paintings used to be the most comfortable and were enjoyed by common people in the past, I would like to create that kind of feeling. I want my art to be comforting and natural, no matter where I put it in the house. This is the life I want to live.