With classes for young children to family programs to advanced courses, there’s something for everyone at the Edina Art Center (EAC). The EAC also offers free community events, such as its monthly author series and juried exhibitions—both of which occur this month.
The arts seem to come naturally to Holly Stone, a Minnesota native who says she’s always been drawn to painting and drawing. She’s given piano lessons, painted murals and had a theater troupe with a friend. She’s taught at the EAC for the past 15 years, but just recently she started incorporating meditation into her classes.
Stone had often practiced techniques to get into an intuitive state of mind before doing art, but after living in India for 15 months last year, she’s brought her meditation to the next level. “In India I studied Tibetan Thangka painting and went on several meditation retreats,” Stone says. “After 15 months of painting, it became second nature to combine the two [meditation and art].”
Now studying Eastern Orthodox icon painting, which involves a meditative state in its process, Stone is sharing her artistic process with those at the EAC. For realistic pieces, she gathers visual resources, combines ideas and works in a step-by-step manner. But for more fluid, intuitive pieces? She says, “I will do exercises to get into a quiet, right-brain state of mind and use music, and sometimes scents, to help with the flow.” But it goes back and forth, as she explains how her process varies with the type of art she does.
Her current favorite pieces include the Thangkas she painted in India, a type of art that takes months to complete. She feels deeply connected to the symbolism of the pieces, but also enjoys pen and ink pieces she’s done—letting the pen and ink take their own direction and seeing how the images emerge.
After teaching all ages in a variety of media at the EAC—from Art Academy for kids to teaching adults in watercolors, pastels, oils and acrylics—and beginning painting courses to those for well-advanced students, Stone has developed two new courses. One on creating a travel journal and the other on exploring color with creating mandalas. Currently, she’s focusing on incorporating mindfulness and meditation into art.
“Doing art helps me to a quieter, more peaceful frame of mind,” Stone says. “And doing meditation helps me connect with my intuition for the painting process.”
Find Stone’s work at the St. Paul Art Crawl during the third weekend of October and check out her class schedule for October and November at edinamn.gov/150/art-center. Stone also teaches at the Artistry in Bloomington and the White Bear Lake Center for the Arts.