The process of painting is an excellent metaphor for life and one can learn much about both life and painting from the mutual experiences.
When I first started painting I became aware of a tendency I had to give up on a painting if it didn’t work out as I’d planned or if it didn’t seem readily pleasing to me. My instinct would then usually be to abandon the work and to try something else.
Never give up hope
Luckily I had a wise and understanding teacher who told me: ‘There’s always a solution’ and that I needed to persevere to find it. I’d never thought about things in this way before and, ever since, I’ve applied this principle to all areas of my life.
With my paintings I learned that, if I wasn’t sure, I should give them time and keep looking at them in different lights, at different times of the day, until I could work out what was needed.
What’s also helpful is, when I’m too ‘close’ to my work and don’t have sufficient perspective to find a solution, that trustworthy friends show me what I haven’t been able to see. This gives me a solution and a way forward.
And so it is with life.
No matter what’s going on in your life, it’s important to know that it’s always necessary to ‘find a solution’. The first step to getting clarity is to realise that something isn’t working – and then to appreciate that walking away and starting again isn’t always the most efficient approach.
Taking time to step back and observe the issue from many different points of view will usually allow the answers to come. As in painting, the solution brings relief and excitement at knowing what needs to be done to move forward. And, also as with the paintings, sometimes the insights of trusted friends allow me to see what I’ve been missing.
This painting started out as something else and, after living with it for ages, I decided to work on it further. My previous brushstrokes formed a foundation for the new painting and the hints of the previous work that show through add to the depth of the new work.
The metaphor continues in the ongoing process of our lives in that all our previous life experiences provide depth, meaning, ‘texture’, history and wisdom to our accumulated experience.