“Abstraction in Whites”
Recently, I completed giving giving a workshop and acting as a juror and awards judge for a large watercolor exhibition. While I was ready for the task and the possible embarrassment if I failed, a realization came upon me that I have changed my perspective. That is to say I have entirely revised my attitudes about being a painter. For many years, I lived the part, but all the while chewed on the notion that I was still an amateur . . . . .and didn’t want anyone to discover that fact!!
I am not sure when the shift took place. Somewhere, sometime my attitude was one that I had never carried before . . . . .I didn’t give a darn about what anyone thought. Okay. If I make a mistake, I made a mistake! Get used to it world.
Yikes! That is awfully cavalier!! . . . . Or, is it?
I cannot account for how the mental change happened, but I became aware of it in the midst of my recent workshop. One of the participants was painting (obviously) and was loudly voicing her displeasure with what she was doing. She attempted to start over again . . . .and I advised her NOT to begin a new painting . . . .to stay with and finish what she had begun.
Of course, she was even more upset. I could not verbalize to her what I was feeling and thinking (not about her!). What my mind was doing was quietly trying to comfort her and let her know that she was experiencing exactly what she should be experiencing.
Eh? What did you just say, Mike?
She was rejecting the fact that she was confronting obstacles to her hoped for success. She refused to accept that the obstacles were part of her training to become a better painter.
A great philosopher once said something to this effect: Obstacles in your path? The obstacles ARE your path!
That statement totally sums up the current state of my attitude! I have accepted that mistakes, failures, blunders, faux pas, etc. are the the very places from which our best lessons are learned . . . .and that it is not only ‘okay’ for them to be out in the open, but that they are expected and welcome!
Think about your path to becoming a painter for a few moments . . . .
Was it an easy journey? Did it happen over night? Were there acres of canvas or paper wasted and ruined along the way? Were you ever embarrassed about a painting? Did you ever find that a painting simply would not come to fruition? And . . . .did you ever experience one painting just falling into place so automatically that you didn’t know how it happened?
And here is another question . . . .Aren’t you proud of how much you have overcome to become the painter that you are? Aren’t you looking forward to the rest of the journey?
Of course the answer is an unqualified “Yes” to all the above questions!
Somehow, somewhere and sometime we not only accept that struggle is the formula for success as a painter, but we eventually relish the delicious challenges that confront us along the way. Our perspective changes from resistance to acceptance.
And so it is, my friends. Be with the obstacles !!