Let me begin by stating that I am not an artist. I have many friends who are, and I admire their talent, their creative souls, and the time and effort they put into their craft. I have always had a great appreciation for artists and the magical things they create to inspire themselves and the world around them. I’m going to apologize now for my lack of understanding of art principles and terminology and hope I don’t offend your artist’s feelings with my thoughts. I have participated in several paint nights recently and through my very rough efforts at painting, I have realized that there are many life lessons to be learned.
We are all beautiful
Everyone has their own paint supplies they are comfortable using based on previous experience, such as the type of paint and brushes, and the size and shape of canvas and style of painting. Some like to have thin paint and others glob it on the canvas so that it won’t dry for days. I have loved seeing the different things that my friends come up with. Even if we started out with a single idea of what we wanted to create, we each have had our own interpretation and every canvas is unique. Much like life, we each have our own path to tread, our own demons to deal with, and our own tools of the trade. We experience our own joys, and our outcomes are all different, individual and beautiful.
It’s about the experience
After several instructor-led painting sessions, I decided to be brave and to venture out on my own. Luckily for Bob Ross and the Paint Sherpa, I have a lot to learn! My attempt at a seascape ended up with lots of water, a bit of sand and no sky. But I wanted birds, so there are random birds in the water with no horizon line. Even though the elements aren’t realistic or balanced at all and you can’t tell if I have water or sky, I really enjoyed the adventure. I felt pure joy mixing paint, creating new colors and textures. I wanted to paint something for a friend that would bring her peace of mind amidst a stressful time in her life and I wanted to use her favorite color and the images of waves and a beach to portray a calm feeling. It was the experience of doing something for someone else and exploring my artistic talents that were most meaningful. Life is about the journey, not the destination.
I realized pretty quickly that I like symmetry when I paint. So much so, that I struggle to get things to look the way I want them to because art (and life) are not always in perfect balance. I tried to paint a prickly pear cactus and it ended up looking more like a four leaf clover because I struggled for a realistic look versus symmetrical. It took me really making some adjustments and thinking differently for my prickly pear cactus to even begin to resemble what I wanted. I love to load my paintbrushes up with tons of paint. My sweet artist friends have to kindly break it to me that I have way too much paint on my brush for the look I am going for. It took practice and a lot of patience to get the look that I wanted.
Is my life in balance? Absolutely not! I tend to overdo things and really struggle to find a good balance between the different aspects of my life. I tend to think that if a little of something is good, then a lot is better! For example, I discovered taro bubble tea and drank it almost every day for about two months. It was amazing and I love it! But I went so overboard with it that it wasn’t a special treat anymore, so now I am taking a break. (Although, I had one yesterday so not sure that I am on a break any longer.) I also love to read and unfortunately, other areas of my life sometimes suffer because I am stuck in a book. Who has time to vacuum or water the flowers when I am in the middle of reading an intense battle scene in a Brandon Sanderson book? I am not giving up on the journey to finding the right balance in my painting and my life; the journey can be moment to moment, or day to day. And it isn’t achieved once and you are set. You must continue onward and maintain focus towards the goal.
I love mixing paint to create new colors. Being able to find the right combination of paint for the colors I want is so fun and addicting! I could sit and just mix colors for hours, but quickly discovered that if I mixed too much gray with anything I still got gray. I am not saying gray is a bad color at all and we all have gray times in our lives. As I was playing with my gray colors it reminded me of how negative energy easily spreads and can take over things if you let it. There are many good things in the world and in your life so embrace them, even if it is for a moment to clear the negative thoughts away. Embrace the color and get rid of the gray. Enjoy mixing things up in your life and find the balance for what works for you. Sometimes the color you want isn’t what you get. Just keep trying until you get it right, or accept that the color you have is good enough for now. Life has many stages and seasons. It is important to enjoy where you are in life, create color and joy, and just have fun!
I can’t copy exactly what someone else has painted and that’s ok! It is hard to watch my friends with such great skill, then look at my own canvas and see that it looks like mud. But it is my mud. I need to enjoy being my own person and having my own interpretation of art and life.
It does no good to compare yourself to others, just compare yourself to you. Make sure that you are improving yourself. The way I do something is not going to be the same way anyone else does it. That isn’t wrong, in fact, we should celebrate our differences. The way I live my life and the choices I make, may not work for someone else. And there is nothing wrong with that! We shouldn’t look at someone else and make judgments on what they choose to do either. We each need to find our own path based on our core values, and what brings us joy and fulfillment. Life is full of colors, adventures, opportunities, joys, and sorrows, so celebrate you and celebrate life!
It’s Not Over
If you don’t like the end result, your story or your painting isn’t over. You can always go back and make adjustments to your work of art. You can even paint over the entire canvas and completely begin again. Life is about enjoying the small moments, spreading joy, hope, and love. The painting of your life isn’t ever finished. Keep creating new colors. Try new brush stroke and different mediums. Find balance in your own way.