“So then I switched from the soft, muted technique you see here, to a palette knife technique. Do you see how it catches the light? Do you see the depth as the light changes? It’s fun to switch techniques and infuse new energy into the process.”
“I’m getting away from glassing each piece. I’m working on this new canvas that I found. Now I can work on a much larger scale. This canvas is bringing my work to a larger level.”
“I was out taking photos of buffalo for this sculpture and it turns out that it had been twenty years since the last set of bison twins. Those are the babies you see in that piece.”
These are quotes from three different artists.
Each artist spoke enthusiastically about his or her work while appearing detached from the end result. It was as if they were talking about another artist’s work – not their own. They spoke of the joy in the process. Their eyes sparkled with the prospect of new techniques or mediums and the opportunity to express and create.
They weren’t embarrassed or shy or apprehensive about pointing at their own work. “Look! Do you see this part where the texture makes the light change?” They were happy children (before children learn to worry about what others think) coming home from school with an art project, excitedly exclaiming about how fun it is to make art.
These artists weren’t strutting around using a paint brush and palette as props. They were passionately sharing something that is available to all of us – creativity.
They weren’t claiming to be the best, and they weren’t making excuses.
As we walked out of one art-filled room and into the next, I turned to Jen and Will and said, “Do you notice how they talk about their work? Do you notice that they are direct and comfortable as they speak of their painting? Wouldn’t that be so good to be open when talking about the stuff you create?”
Both kids looked at me like I must be nuts.
Maybe it comes with practice.
Maybe that detachment comes with time.
Maybe when you get really good at something, your ego doesn’t need to be on stage, or even in the same room.
And then I thought…
What if we could talk about ourselves (or feel about ourselves) the way artists talk about their work? What if we could observe and be detached? What if we could experience such joy in the process and not cling to the end result?
I’d say, “This is the part where I tried that relationship. It worked for awhile.”
I might say, “This is the part where I tried a new relationship. Do you see how the light changed?”
Then I’d say, “This is the part where I took a break from relationships and worked on myself. Do you see how the texture is different?”
What if I didn’t make excuses or hide behind my “work”? What if I held up my life like a fresh painting? The “painting” isn’t perfect, but it’s a product of where I am right now.
What if I jumped out of bed and excitedly grabbed my bag of tools and went about creating my life like an artist creates a sculpture?
Maybe it comes with practice.