We are all artists. When you sit and paint with me, I am reaffirmed. We paint and we learn. Consider that art-making is dedication to a learning process more than product making. The products are beautiful, yes, (sometimes surprisingly so) but the human-ness of the dedication, patience, openness, frustration, practice and finally commitment, is the often-untold real and more important story. This dimension of art is blissfully imperfect and time-bound but just as sublime as a finished work. When we paint, we uncover more of our illogical, loving, passionate-for-good-or-evil, artistry and then take a bit of Truth from it.
If you believe in magic, you can see it in the process. I believe.
We are patient, courageous and confident. Patient, because with time and curiosity, your artistry emerges. Courageous because we aren’t used to being intimate with the frustrated voice that insists that this isn’t good enough, that we aren’t good enough, and yet we keep on painting with unspoken faith that we are as perfectly whole as we need to be. Confident, because even if you believe you can’t paint a straight line, don’t have creative bone in your body, or have never been good at this stuff, the painting comes, emerges, unfolds and then reveals itself. You surprise yourself. We should surprise ourselves more often. That’s adventure.
It is a colorful life; to paint and to meet travelers and other curious creatives. The inspiration rolls from our energy. More than painting, when you come, I learn more about life and possibility through your stories.
The sprightly-eyed woman, with curly gray hair, swathed in color, who celebrated her 70th birthday in my workshop charmed me. She had a giggle in her voice, which I drank like a drop of joy every time she spoke. We huddled over our paintings, talking about aging, art and love. I was reminded of listening to Maya Angelou when she was asked how being 84 is. She said, “Do it!” 84 is the best. Aging is a mysterious privilege.
I remember the wonderful Argentinian woman, who came with a heart full of creative love, a deep curiosity and a free abandoned approach to painting. We talked of art and family. She spoke of generosity and changing the world with art.
There was the son who asked me for a painter’s apron before we began. In surprise, I said “Its watercolor, it isn’t that messy.” I gave him my apron anyway, and he proved that, in fact, it can be quite messy. His attention was so focused on painting, the external world of messes and raw pigment barely existed until they soiled his white leggings. I admired his focus.
To the couples who have bravely brought their doubting partners maybe as a surprise or a looming gloom in your vacation, I respect your guts. You brought your best efforts, the process opened, you bonded in your discomfort and sweet memories were forged.
I want to ask a million questions of the women with high school and college-age kids. How do you survive? I want to know how it happens that mothers bring their mothers to my workshops. I want to know how to stay connected to my children and simultaneously let them go. Because I see you do it.
There is more. There are parties, retreats, events and get togethers. There are sons, daughter, grandfathers, grandkids, kids, lovers, age old friends, new friends, families and colleagues.
All of us are artists.
I revel in the wonderful curiosity of how we live and paint.