The Power of a Morning Ritual

Painter Chas Martin begins each day the same way: he picks up a paint brush—not the same one as the day before—and dips it in one or more colors. In four strokes, he paints the same basic character. Every morning. Every day. Before he starts his "real" painting.

Each day's "four stroke man"  is unique, he said. "A different attitude, different touch, different texture, or level of confidence. Some days it’s free, wet and loose. Some days it’s very intentional and controlled. I may wet the paper first. Add or lift pigment. Some days, I do nothing but watch the colors and paper interact," he said.

Why? Because this morning ritual centers him for the day. When he gets stuck on a painting and it's not going the way he wanted, "I look up and see my four stroke man," he said and then Chas knows what to do. It might be to change colors or loosen up. "It's like a little helper urging me on."

Do you have a morning ritual or something you do that helps you find the support and focus for the day? I've been meditating every morning for the past several months but now, after Chas' story,  I want something more. Something I can look at, that reminds me that making art requires perseverance and helps me decide what new direction to go when I'm stuck.

Chas is not a routine-loving artist which is why he never uses the same brush, the same paper or the same colors from the day before. Without this morning ritual? "Nothing seems to make sense," he said.

Four Stroke Man, Copyright © 2015 Chas Martin. Used with permission of the artist.