Art and Meditation
Art 164
Katherine Sherwood


Meditation is arguably the most ancient, powerful, and yet simple spiritual practice in the world. It is known in various forms in nearly all times and cultures, and plays a part in every religious tradition. This experimental workshop will examine how meditation can affect your art both in terms of practice and content.  The class will be structured with slide presentations, museum visits, discussion of reading and reviews of art work.  Art from various spiritual traditions such as Taoist, Shaker, Haitian and Huichol will be shown.  Contemporary forms of meditative art will also be examined.
This workshop is for a limited amount (20) of advanced art students. Course requirements will include completing 3  art projects, participation in a 1 hour discussion session per week, participation in an exhibit  and a class presentation. All media are welcome.

AUG. 30                   
Introduction to class, review of syllabus, reader and requirements
Introduction to Projects
READ:  A New Earth  by Ekhart Tolle, Chapters 3-7
Book may be purchased at Analog Books on Euclid Avenue, just past North Gate
SEPT. 1                 
Introduction to Meditation
THE FIELD by Lynne McTaggart
READ: and Seeking the Heart of Wisdom  by Joseph Goldstein and Jack Kornfield

SEPT. 8                 
THE FIELD  by Lynne McTaggart

SEPT. 13                 

SEPT. 15                 
Rev iew of Art Work: 2 prayer beads due
SEPT. 20                 
READ: Conference of the Birds by Farid al-Din Attar
DISCUSSION of reading

SEPT. 22             
Guest Speaker on Sufism: Sensei Mohammed Ali

SEPT. 27                 
Aboriginal Bark Paintings & Contemporary Work- Hearst Museum
READ: The Songlines by Bruce Chatwin

SEPT. 29                 
Review of Art Work:  1st. Bird Due + 1 prayer bead

OCT. 4                                    
Shaker Gift Drawings
Hildegard Von Bingen

OCT.  6                 
Visit BAM to view Taoist  and  Zen Paintings
READ: Tao Te Ching  by Lao-Tsu trans. Stephen Mitchell & The Secret of The Golden Flower  trans. Thomas Cleary & Zen Mind, Beginners Mind by Shunryu Suzuki

OCT. 11                 
Agnes Martin and Hilma Af Klint
READ: Writings by Agnes Martin
OCT. 13                 
Huichol Yarn Paintings- Hearst Museum

OCT. 18                 
Guest Speaker: Jeri Lawson

OCT. 20                 
Review of Art Work: 2nd Bird Due
Topic and abstract for class presentation due

OCT. 25                 
Guest speaker: Christopher Wallis

OCT. 27               
Sister Gertrude Morgan, Rev. Howard Finster & James Hampton
NOV. 1                                    
Review of Art Work: 3rd. Large Bird (can be collaborative) + 1 prayer bead

NOV. 3                  
Watch Divine Horsemen: The Living Gods of Haiti by Maya Derren
Read: Flash of the Spirit by Robert Farris Thompson

NOV. 8                                    
Install art show

NOV. 10                 
Visit BAM  -Tibetan Art and Film in the Bernard-Murray Collection Contemporary Buddhist Art
READ: The Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh
READ: When Things Fall Apart  by Pema Chodron Forrest Bess

NOV. 15                 
Guest Speaker- Chris Wallis- Tantra
READ:  The Joy of Living   by Minghur Rinpoche

NOV. 17                 
Meetings of Remarkable Men by Peter Brook

NOV.  22                 
Student Presentations

NOV 29                 
Student Presentations

DEC. 1                    
Student Presentations

DEC. 6                  

DEC. 8                                    


Three separate projects will be done out of class for review:

  1. 4 Prayer Beads for Giants

  2. 3 Birds based on the Sufi text Conference of the Birds

  3. A final project of your choice


A daily practice of meditation lasting at least 20 minutes is required and part of the class.  We will begin each class with a meditation.


“A” equals exceptional work, self-initiative, and attendance.   You will given a grade for your art projects (60%) and class presentations (30%).  This will represent 90% of your final grade.  The other 10% will be based on participation and improvement. You can discuss any class or grade issues during office hours and in individual meetings. Office hours are Wednesday from 12-1 in room 316 Kroeber                                               

 After two absences, your grade will go down one step with each additional absence.   Arriving late or leaving early will be accumulated and applied towards this grade, three occurrences equals one absence.  Eight absences will result in a course grade no higher than a “D.”  Attending critiques is the equivalent of examinations; therefore, attendance is critical to grading.  All excuses need to be in writing.


Primary factors in determining the course participation grade are self- initiative, willingness to experience limitations and unknowns, participation in class lectures, demonstrations, and group critiques.  Also considered will be your use of time, activities  surrounding research, and competence in materials and techniques.


Primary factors in determining the course improvement area are overall change from first to last work, conscientiousness in application of principles or concepts and demonstrated ability to understand concepts.