It's a Wrap - The Way Leads to the Way
Another 6 week session of my mixed media painting classes has ended. My students, as always, keep me honest. Something about doing my demo paintings, having to walk the talk in front of an audience, means I keep it raw and spontaneous. Instead of freezing up, I loosen up. And when preparing for a class, I am renewed and reminded of all the significant tenets that have led me to the place where I am now. Always still learning, still reaching, for truth in my life and art.
The title of this recent class was The Way Leads to the Way. So what does that mean?
In Taoist teachings, in order to be our most authentic selves, we must surrender to the moment’s guidance. The Way is the path of pure presence. It responds only in the NOW, and has no concern for anything but the deeper self, the one that is beyond culture, place and expectations. It is ultimate Freedom.
We all have an innate guidance system within, an internal compass that is more reliable than any map could be. Sometimes we feel the need to know where we are going, with a well charted path, but far more interesting is finding our way through trust. When we strengthen that trust, we make room for magic and new ways of being in life and art.
In the creative process, trust is critical to authentic expression. The Way only presents itself in small simple steps, each one loaded with information about how to take the next step, and so on. Strengthening our ability to listen for these clues, we are guided by signposts that indicate the direction we should take. This is where the magic begins!
But too often we are listening to the wrong clues - the ones that tell us to create something someone else will like or better yet, buy! That’s ok if that’s your intention, but it’s not what we are reaching for here.
When we pay attention to what we are drawn to, we begin to notice threads that bind our visual world together. Case in point - the painting at the top of this post came fast and furious during a demo, without thought. But just prior to painting it, I had taken the 2 photos shown above. When put together in this post I found the color and texture connections unselfconscious and evident in all 3 images.
So whether we are seeing the ordinary world around us with fresh and curious eyes, through the lens of a camera, painting in the studio or living fully with presence, it’s HOW we engage with life that shows us who we are. All we need do is show up, look and listen.
Simply put, how we do anything, is how we do everything.
So the best message I can pass on to my students is this: LOVE WHAT YOU LOVE.
And then let it show up in your work. Simple, end of story.