Sunday, May 06, 2012

The creative journey and the heart of gratitude

The journey of creating a painting can sometimes be a simple one but more often it is a path of decision making and emotional highs and lows that inevitably follow in the process of working things out.  My decision making process will often start with  questions. Questions like, is my idea worth pursuing, what size should it be, how should I approach this painting, do I need to do studies before beginning, do I have enough reference material or do I need to hire more models,  can I see the finished piece in my head or am I just not that excited about it? What is the main point of the idea, what am I saying in this piece, is it about a simple yet profound beauty or are there a few layers of communication going on? These are just a few of the many questions I ask myself.  I need to have clear and often visual answers to these questions before I really begin. Once I start painting, well then there are a million more questions that I need to answer along the way, some come from the painting itself and some come from a much deeper place of self criticism and negative head talk whose only remedy is that of the Holy Spirits truth talk to my soul. I know many understand this negative attitude of self defeat all too well. Thoughts like, I'm not good enough, this painting looks terrible and ugly, I'm not as good as so and so and therefore I should just quit, nothing is working out.... and we can go on and on having our own little self pity party. The problem is, nothing good can come from those lies. So the painting can sit there unfinished and untouched for days while we stare at it paralized by our own fear of failure and perfectionism. The remedy, I believe, is to stop comparing ourselves to others and give thanks for what we have been given, maintain a teachable heart to grow and learn and more practically speaking, put some paint on the brush and go for it. Thankfully once this negative attitude is overcome, for the moment, paint can begin to flow and the painting comes to life and something beautiful drips from our brush again. Hours, days sometimes weeks later, whoa la the painting is complete and we then have the occasion to smile and wonder, how in the world did we do that. Then once again, give thanks to our own creator for giving us a portion of his creativity to reflect his beauty in paint.  With a heart of gratitude, no telling what might come bursting off that canvas.

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