“Life imitates art far more than art imitates Life.” — Oscar Wilde
In the studio, I find neither life nor art imitating the other. Instead, I find life makes more sense through art-making.
Life-making and art-making are one and the same to me. Every life is a work of art that is a reflection of its creator.
Like life, art-making becomes fuller, richer, more satisfying, when I get brave and don’t fear the steps I’m taking but instead, commit to taking them wholeheartedly, trusting I have the capacity, and the heart, to deal with whatever comes my way lovingly, compassionately, honestly and bravely.
Last night in the studio, I didn’t have a clear idea of what I wanted to create. I simply wanted to create.
I prepared a page in my art journal and while flipping through a bunch of pages I’d collected for collage, found an ink mono print I’d done a couple of years ago of my face.
Cool! I thought. I’ll collage my face into my page and go from there.
It had been awhile since I’d tried to collage one of the ink mono prints into a piece I’m working on and didn’t think back to my last experience.
It could have been a big mistake!
To collage the mono print into my piece, I use a liquid medium. Liquid medium makes ink run. I’d learned this important fact the last time I’d tried to do this — and forgotten it.
Last time, I scrapped the piece.
This time, I chose to keep working through it and make my ‘mistake’ part of my process.
I didn’t worry about the ink running. I made it part of the creation.
And, because I have experiencing working with art products and processes, I knew how to stabilize the mono print once I’d gotten it to where I wanted it to be so that I could keep working on the piece without the ink continuing to run.
And that’s when it struck me. What I was doing was very much like living life.
We all have our ‘histories’. The past things we’ve done and experienced and learned that inform our life today. Like dissecting frogs in Biology Class there are some lessons I’ve learned that do not apply to my life today. For others, dissecting frogs may have led to studying medicine or becoming biology teachers. We are each unique in how we use what we’ve learned and experienced to enrich the journey of our lives.
We carry our learnings and experience through our journey, like beautiful threads in our tapestry of life. Some threads are longer. Some create a pattern we find pleasing. Some we tie-off and weave in another colour or pattern. No matter what we do with the thread, it is always there, ready to add value to the vibrancy and stability of our world today.
Since trying to collage in that first mono print a couple of years ago, I’ve spent a lot more time in the studio. In the process, I’ve gotten more confident and free in my creative journey.
Whereas last time the ink ran I scrapped the project, this time I chose to keep pushing through it. To trust in the process and use what I knew about art-making to enhance my journey. I chose to use my ‘mistake’ as a gift to help create and enrich the outcome.
Here’s the thing though. There was a part of the process last night that did apply to Biology Class long ago.
In Grade 13 I did not want to dissect frogs and convinced my teacher that he didn’t want me doing it either. Instead, I put together an independent study program where I spent the year outside the Biology classroom and in the Grade 3 & 4 classrooms in the elementary school next door. There, I taught children the art of living life compassionately, cooperatively, creatively.
Last night I used some of the lessons I learned from putting together that independent study project when I was in my teens.
Believe in yourself.
Trust in the process.
There are no mistakes, just opportunities to create.
Every life is a work of art. We all have the talent and capacity to create beautiful lives through bravely taking each step of our journey believing in ourselves, borrowing from our pasts when necessary and giving ourselves the grace of trusting in the process of life unfolding in all its beautiful colours running wildly across the page we are creating in this moment right now.