"The outcome of a painting has to be viewed on the same ground from which it was created--its aliveness, its energy, its vulnerability-in order to be appreciated. This aliveness resides in the painter's face, in the posture, in the change of feeling, and in the heightened awareness of the moment, as well as on the surface of the painting. The outcome is the whole experience, not just a piece of paper with paint on it." ~Michell Cassou (From her book Life, Paint & Passion)
The little words under the bird say "Be you." *(Click to enlarge)
I haven't been painting much lately. I'm noticing that the more time that goes by between paintings, the greater my resistance. Last week, when I finally managed to put a paintbrush in my hand and began to dip and dab and get color all over the place, a lightness descended. Even though there was the surface level anxiety that comes from feeling the void of a blank canvas, a giddy-kind-of-joy came bubbling up. Painting does that to me. I feel like a giggling little kid when I paint.
I painted this particular painting outside on my back deck; the sun was shining, the birds were singing wildly, the breeze was just right...the music from inside the house had me dancing and singing and swaying. At one point, a hummingbird swooped down super close to me...I felt like it buzzed by just to say hello to me. It was a beautiful, blessed afternoon.
In the middle of painting, this knowing bubbled to the surface...it doesn't matter at all how this painting turns out, the aliveness that I'm feeling right now is what it's all about.
But here's the funny, not surprising thing...the mind has a very sneaky way of edging its way in and messing with a good thing. It loves to do that. It loves to stomp on the sacredness of creation and decide that it's really not about the joy at all but about what I can hold in my hands and look at in the end. And the mind decides that it very much has everything to do with whether others like it. Or not. Hmmm. So conditioned are we to care so much about "good" and "bad," to care so much about someone else's very subjective, fleeting opinion.
Here's the thing. I am fiercely committed to calling bullshit on the mind. I am committed to letting joy be my guide...if something fills me with aliveness and giddiness and inspiration, I will follow it wherever it leads. I will follow it wherever it leads. I will follow it wherever it leads. This is my commitment.
I've asked this question before and I'm sure if you keep coming back here, you'll hear some version of it many times more:
What if creating could simply be about expressing what is sacred inside? What if we let go of good and other's opinions and committed to following our joy, our bliss, our giddiness wherever it may so bravely lead?
Seriously, what if?
**Today's fearLESS Friday stretch:
Pick up a paintbrush, a crayon, a pencil, a pen, a piece of chalk (whatever is easy/simple/available) and simply begin. Don't think. Don't plan. Don't try to decide anything ahead of time. There are no rules. Allow your brush (crayon, pencil etc...) to be your guide. Don't try to figure out what comes next, let your intuition/something beyond your little mind lead the way. Trust that you will know what comes next when it's time to know. Just begin. Follow this moment to the next. And giggle. And did I say trust?