My name is Maria Medina-Schechter, and I was born in Pasadena, California. My maternal grandfather was a sculptor. His presence in my life offered an illuminated path towards my work. My paternal grandmother was a curandera, a type of shaman or healer. She began teaching me about plants, herbs, and food as medicine for the body when I was a child. In high school, I co-founded the Art Club and the Earth Savers Club. I have always felt a calling to nature. I have dedicated over thirty years of study and practice of Mahayana and Theravada Buddhism, along with over 5 years of practice with the former California Institute of Transpersonal Psychology, Shaman Healing Circle, (ITP) in Palo Alto, California. These experiences helped me foster my relationship with the divine.
In addition, I am a mixed-race artist. I am half-Irish and half-Mexican. Most of my life I never felt that I fit into either culture. Art itself is my culture. At a young age, I was influenced by both sets of grandparents. What I have learned about culture over the past two decades is that it has a beautiful way of weaving itself into a person's DNA. I began to learn about plants and herbs as food and medicine, and would later spend time with Thai Forest monks and nuns with a community in a rural part of Thailand, learning about plant medicine for the body in the 21st Century. This exposed me to an entirely new perspective of living and engaging my own art work, methodologies, and practice.
I wanted to have a deeper understanding of the body, so I fed this curiosity by traveling to 17 other countries, searching, learning, and absorbing the cultures and its various healing traditions. I brought these healing modalities together into my color bands, initially as a practitioner in quiet prayer or meditation. Ten years later, I began to incorporate a daily practice of this work into my life and my paintings.
I have worked with mudras for over a year, and it is one healing modality that affects how I approach my work. The other healing modality is chromotherapy. The human eye can only see light between the wavelengths of 380 and 780 nm. This window is called the visible spectrum. Visible light can be categorized by frequencies. Chromotherapy, which uses bands in the visible color spectrum, is a beautiful experience. These visible colors are combined with a source of light, then applied to organs that need healing. These colors provide the body the healing energy it needs. The science behind it is that the biochemical and hormonal processes that occur in the body are activated by energy that is generated by the color. It is the science of using colors to adjust body vibrations to frequencies that result in health and harmony. Each color possesses frequencies of a specific vibration, and each vibration is related to different physical symptoms. I began learning about color therapy in 1998 when I was at Cornell University. I was not used to the long winter and loss of light. I was introduced to this therapy by a campus doctor to help regain a balance and harmony by absorbing UV rays of light to elevate my feelings.
I use mudras and chromotherapy as a methodology to develop my work. By blending and shaping the story into the collage, I create a space for balance between telling the story and developing an architecture with the intention of continued healing. During my years of study, I have learned 37 healing modalities, which helped me build a bridge of healing hues setting an intention for continued healing to address global issues affecting humanity today.