Being Breath

stories from the wilderness of everyday life

The Lessons of One (Piece of Art)

My practice for Art Every Day Month has surprised me in many ways.

Perhaps one of the biggest is that "Art Every Day" does not mean "one completed piece of art every day".  I learned within the first few days that if I were going to make this a true, creativity-changing practice, I needed to slow down.

Isn't that always the case....

 

On the third day, I started the piece you see below.  It began as an abstract expression of color.  I was trying to practice form, composition, tone, balancing colors....everything that I've delved into studying as part of this creative journey.  (I also started painting vertically.  It wasn't long before I moved down to the floor.)

I spent a bit on this, but grew more and more unhappy with each stroke.  

I was using the color wheel, balancing composition, allowing texture to appear as I moved the brush with the music I had playing...but it was a mess.  

Truthfully, I probably wasn't doing all of those things I just mentioned.  I was trying to do those things.


The music was strong and moody (soundtrack to Avatar) and all I wanted to do was keep moving, expressing.  It was honestly an uncomfortable practice to stop and become aware of the painting.  But knowing that I was too caught up in a frantic try to do something, to make something - pausing is exactly what I needed.

At one point, I mixed a soft color and textured over the entire painting.  I felt my breath flow easier.  Everything finally seemed unified, in harmony.

 

But it also seemed boring.

A small circle made with the brush - one tiny, intuitive action - gave the painting a direction in the midst of the stillness.

After more color, different tries at outlining, and a few helpful tips from a dear artist friend, I arrived at the present.  Though it is still a work in progress, here is where it stands:

This piece, like so many others, is not about the piece itself.

So I'm painting an eye.  Yippee.

What interests me is what comes beyond the page, behind the page, because of the page.

What interests me is this:

That in trying, we may reach a goal but we almost always fail our Self.  Trying means we are reaching for something.  Doing/Being means we are present for that something that already exists.

 

That expression can be free-flowing and messy and colorful and energetic.  Sometimes, that is what is needed.  Often, we need to take a breath from our "out-there-ness" and tread softly to become aware, to stand in awe of the whole picture.

 

That unity is beautiful, peaceful, harmonious.  But unity without diversity, without direction or movement, is boring.  Stillness is divinity; movement is life.  

 

That direction is beneficial only when we can let go of attachment to the goal.  In sitting with what is, everything that might be becomes clear.  Direction is simply making one of those paths more probable.

 

That I have so much more to learn.

Namaste.