The Transforming Power Of Art
I am lucky enough to work with one of those people who can turn a garbage can into a work of art - literally! My colleague, Peg, is one of those people who can transform the environment with creativity. We work in the basement of, what used to be, the old library in Tompkins County. It's always been dark and pretty drab. That is, it was until Peg arrived and things started to brighten up some. The horrible, brick walls got whitewashed. The awful, dingy cabinets were sponge painted a teal blue and the handles were replaced with colorful knobs. Art began appearing on the walls.
Last week, Peg showed me an old, rusty, metal garbage can that she had decoupaged. It was love at first sight! She had taken pictures from a magazine I had brought in on Africa, and, along with tissue paper, had transferred them to the trash can. I don't know, there was something about it that just hit me. It was the fact that somebody took something ugly and put in the time and effort to make it beautiful.
I have come to the conclusion that beauty is essential to a healthy life. We can become so wrapped up in the routine and so used to the commonplace that we lose our sense of wonder. We become dull. There are countless ways to counter that though, and people do it all the time. I have a friend who puts fresh tulips on her table in January. I have a cousin who bakes cakes and not just any kind of cake. Her cakes are works of art! Any touch of creativity that lifts the spirit has more worth to it than one might guess.
So, cheers to Peg and all the other artists who see potential in the everyday drab of our surroundings and add their touch to make a difference!
I read somewhere that Diego Velazques, the famous Spanish painter in the court of King Philip IV, would pull down paintings that were on the walls for years and paint on them again.
I find that oddly reassuring. There are times when I've done all I could with a painting and am still not satisfied with the outcome. There are other times when I get so sick of working on one painting, that I hurry up and "finish it," because I am so bored. No surprise there when the result is lacking. But, the alternative - cranking out a work when your heart is not in it, can suck the creativity and joy out of the whole process. So now, I take a painting that is finished or almost finished and I stick it on the wall for awhile.
Over the following days, weeks, or months, I will look at it and usually come up with ideas or changes I could make to improve it. I don't pressure myself. I just hang the painting and let it kinda percolate on the wall. As far as worrying about when the creative juices will flow again? I don't. I let the deep sleep. When I'm ready, I add or take away from the piece as I see fit. Then I stick it back on the wall again to see if anything else comes to mind.
I did that with my flamingo painting. I was not satisfied with my first attempt, although I called it "finished." So, I stuck it on the wall. I just couldn't reconcile myself to the lackluster pink I had used to paint the flamingos. I started searching for coral paints and discovered one by Lefranc & Bourgeos that knocked my socks off ! Funny how a new paint or brush can be a total mood changer!
I reworked the flamingos and added a few new ones. I wanted to instill a little fun by having a flamingo staring out of the painting at the viewer. I'm much happier with this piece, but am I done? I don't know. It's going back on the wall for awhile, and I'll let you know when it's completely percolated!
I thought I'd write a few thoughts on art, life and whatever else comes to mind.