Trust Your Journey

I have seen workshop participants create beautiful spontaneous work, then turn around and destroy it by completely covering it up. A few students I have worked with for some time have done this on several occasions. Once, I gave a student a different canvas and took away the fresh and lively piece he had just created. He would begin again with fresh vibrant colors and movement, then proceed to layer more and more on top until it was buried under mud. At the end of the session I returned the piece I had hidden away, and we compared the two. One was labored and overworked while the original kept its vibrancy.

I asked him what was going on, why did he cover it up with more paint? He didn’t feel like it should have been finished because he had made it in just a few minutes. He felt like it was an accident. He thought good art had to be labored and fought for, not easily created. Does time discredit creativity? Is something good because it takes longer to create? What about the gestation time?

Do you feel like you have cheated if something came about so quickly and easily? I know I have. I felt like a fraud. I would think I needed to do more because it was raw, not as finished looking as other work. But the voice of my muse would whisper to me that it was perfect. I didn’t trust that voice. Not then. Now I know to stop and put the piece away. I can return to it later and look with fresh eyes. Does it need something else? If I still hear the whisper, I will leave it where I can see it daily. I let it grow on me. Perhaps it is the first piece of a new direction, a fresh style, a beginning of a new journey. I have learned to trust the freedom of spontaneity. Sometimes it is just ready to be born and I am simply the midwife.

Picasso once said when asked how long it took him to make a little drawing on a piece of paper: It took 5 minutes and 40 years. Do not discount the gestation period. You have been working on your process for your entire life. The journey for learning how to paint, or whatever your medium may be; includes tapping into your experiences. Learn the tools and techniques for your medium and then tap into your lifetime of joy, pain, love and loss. Think of the musician who practices scales. This is learning how to use the tools. Then you learn how to play the songs. When you tap into your emotions and apply this to your art, you will create works of great beauty.

Trust your intuition, your inner voice and let the art occur in perfect timing.