Sunday, July 22, 2007

Painting over: Creating value in all things

I love to paint. Love to take a blank canvas and begin to expose shape and form, colour and light upon its surface. When I paint, a process reveals itself that parallels how I journey through life. I paint. I let it sit. Realize it's not working for me. Paint over it. In the paint over journey, I discover the beauty of what lies beneath and the value of what it brings to what appears on the surface. The textures, colours, light of the original comes through the new painting to add depth and meaning to the finished product.

The painting I'm working on right now has had 3 incarnations. First, it was water with a band of trees at the edge. It remained water and trees until I threw more paint, added lots and lots of texture to the surface. Finished product? Lacked depth. Balance. Symmetry. The trees appeared as a sidebar. An afterthought. Disconnected from the whole. Frantic. Chaotic. Messy.

Yesterday, I changed the perspective on my painting. Took it from horizontal to vertical. I looked at the surface colours and textures and wondered, how do I create value out of what is there? I thought about painting over with white and then starting again, leaving only the textures to work with. I thought of a light white wash that let some of the colour shine through as well as the texture. I kept looking at the painting in its new perspective, waiting for the 'truth' to come through.

I love Dioxazine Purple. Love its depth. Its richness. Its vibrancy. I squirted a big huge glob of dioxazine purple onto my palette and began to paint over the canvas on my easel.

That's when the magic happened. Suddenly, the blues and yellows, teals and golds and reds and greens of the underpainting began to merge into a pool of deep water. In places, the dioxazine purple created a sense of a deep pool of silent water. In others, a thin wash over the existing paint created a sense of water sparkling and dancing in sunlight. My canvas took on a life of its own. A scene never before considered began to emerge. A pond of water lilies began to appear.

Like life. When we meet someone we have no idea who they are, what their role in our lives will be.

Sometimes, the journey of getting to know someone turns into an upside down madcap affair that ends in sorrow. Like an encounter with a conman. We have no idea that a simple hello could turn into an encounter with the dark side of the prince who stole our heart. Sometimes, a hello can become a madcap friendship filled with times shared, laughter, joy and loving support with nothing more threatening than a kiss on the cheek and a warm hug when you say good-night, but never good-bye. Sometimes, hello can become a madcap affair that leaves us feeling well-loved, well-lived, well. It may end, but the memories continue to vibrate and thrum throughout our existence. And as we paint the world in all its amazing colour, each brushstroke, each touch of brush to canvas enlightens the view of what is appearing in our lives, and deep within us.

Buried beneath the many layers of my being are scenes of happiness. Scenes of sorrow. Joy. Fear. Anticipation. Expectation. Glorious jubilation. Grinding sadness.

No matter the scene within me, its value is in the vision I create today when I awaken to my life and paint it in living colour. There are bumps and blisters. Ridges of pain, oceans of joy, pools of sorrow. With every stroke I take today, the value in my past is the richness it brings to my life in this moment. In painting over what was, I reveal what is -- depth and beauty -- warts and all.
Changing my perspective, using the underpainting to add depth and meaning to what I do today -- make a difference. To my memories of the past. In my life. In how I create value in all things.

In every life sorrow will fall. In every life joy will abound. In every life there is the opportunity to paint a new, more vibrant, more colourful picture of life as you know it. You get to paint the life of your dreams.

Live it up. Paint it wild. Paint it bright. Paint your life the colours of the rainbow and revel in the beauty of your painting today.

No comments: