Yesterday I had lunch with a lovely friend who is in the midst of a life and death battle that cannot be won. In describing hers and her husband’s schooling with this greatest-of-all life’s lesson she spoke with gratitude about “having a day” and how one has to let go in order to appreciate it.
She said she has always been a person who was bound and determined to do everything well and right. But in this situation who’s to know what is well and right? As an artist she has experienced the freedom of not needing to know the best way to proceed. She has discovered discovery.
We often fight hard to follow a path only to be ultimately thwarted. Then learn “it all worked out for the best”. We think we know the way, we get married to an idea, a course of action and because we are all such good achiever’s we struggle and dig in to try and stay on that track. We exclude possibilities. We berate ourselves for not knowing enough. We miss “the day” rather than seize it. We use energy that might reveal something new worrying about an outcome that may not actually be the best at all. We think we know, but we don’t.
Of course I am talking about painting. I don’t trivialize. For me the process of painting evolved into the microcosmic process of life. Next to parenting it has been my greatest teacher. It is a safe venue to practice grand philosophies while playing in the mud.
This week we continue on summer vacation by playing with the same exercise. Now that you know what it is you can modify it to suit your needs. Bring in collage like Sue. Bring in several “under-paintings” and utilize the technique to give you missing structure. Bring in meaningful imagery to begin a painting as you do and use the slide wall when you get stuck. Be willing to play, to discover, to have the day.