Friday, June 8, 2012

Shifting perspectives

My family returned earlier than expected yesterday, so I didn't get to finish this, though I did manage to keep poking at it off and on over the course of the afternoon and evening.

But I'm not at all happy with it, and I found my meditation time this morning was much consumed with thoughts about it and where it went wrong.

The first thought I had was that it's my old demon, perspective: I've taken any number of art classes over the years, and for some reason perspective always knocks me for a loop.  I get the mathematical concepts; it's just not how I see. 

I liken the problem to the issue some friends of mine face when they're putting away leftovers, or packing: they just can't figure out what size container will hold what they're trying to put into it.  I don't have ANY problem doing that, and take pride in my ability to pick a container that exactly holds the salad, or the rice, or whatever else I'm dealing with.  But I get that it's one of the skills that doesn't come to everyone.

Clearly there are mental faculties that some of us have and some of us don't.  But what I realized during meditation is that my faulty sense of perspective is not really the root of the problem.  The root, I think, is that I'm trying to copy the image rather than allow myself to be inspired by it.  And it was Louise Gallagher's wise comment on yesterday's post that helped me understand that.  She wrote, "What a beautiful photo -- and yes, it deserves a painting to express it in another way!"

That's really what my job is here: to take the joy I find in this image and use painting -- MY painting, the style I love and the techniques I'm learning -- to express it in another way.  Which is both freeing (I don't have to make the perspectives so perfect; I can just suggest the shapes I want) and scary -- do I actually have what I need, both technique and inspiration, to express something original?

... but isn't that the challenge any of us face when we're attempting to create?  Which is why we do our best to stay in touch with that divine creative spirit -- in hopes that something might be created THROUGH us.  My question these days is just that: what is it that is longing to be created through me?  And the question is always lurking in the back of my mind: what tool should I pick up -- camera? keyboard? paintbrush? a job? something else? -- to allow that to happen...

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