About halfway through this painting, I was lamenting in my mind: “Art is hard!” The painting was, at that point, vertically oriented. The lines of color in it were strict and tight. I had a clear vision of what I wanted to express with it. The basic structure was complete and the paint was dry. Looking at it hard and long, I had been letting it sit. I just didn’t know what to do next. The colors were conversing, but the painting was uptight and stilted.
Paul and I were talking a couple of nights ago about some of the stories I tell about my past. We also touched on the stories I tell about myself now. At the same time, I am reading a book that is changing how I view myself and my life. It has me looking at my challenges in a whole new fashion. I am seeing challenges less as troubles and hurdles and more as invitations and opportunities. I’m connecting to the power that story has… especially the power that my story has on me.
One of those stories is that I am not an artist. I am trying to be an artist, but that’s something I’m trying to put on myself like I might an outfit that’s style and cut doesn’t really fit me right. Talking with Paul about some of my past stories, we uncovered that I’m an artist who didn’t know it. I don’t have to put “artist” on me. It’s not something I have to attempt press onto me from the outside… hoping that it will make it in. Instead, from the inside, it is who I am.
While stuck on this painting, I changed tactics because I understand my story better. Because I understand my story more, I know more who I am. Looking at the painting, I asked myself what an artist would do and the answer that came back to me was “Take a risk!”
So I did.
I turned it on its side. I put away my brushes and pulled out my palette knives. I put a thick layer of paint from the tube onto the knife. I drew the knife across the canvas. It only took a single stroke with the palette knife. Just like that, there was life and energy flowing. I immediately knew, after what seemed forever of not knowing, where I wanted to take this painting. The risk could have messed up the carefully crafted underpainting that I had worked so hard on. The thing is, I was stuck with where I was. I was frustrated and felt no resonance or liveliness in myself or on my canvas. My redefined and discovered story allowed me to take a risk. The risk yanked me forward into something new.
Now, just like the unknown sailor in this painting, I’m setting sail. I’m destined to go to new places and experience adventure that my old stories just wouldn’t have allowed.
- Setting Sail
by Janece Moment © 2015
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