The practice of painting continues to inform me about the nature of living in the flow. I move through life and through painting with much more ease when I move with the flow; when I open to serendipity; when I trust.
In painting, as in life, one must learn to navigate the limitations of physicality. I start my day’s painting cold, dry, slowly moving into an openness to the flow. Finally the surface is covered and the oil paint is wet and sticky. Now I can lose myself, lose ego, allowing the paint to move in its own way with a little help from my brush in hand.
The day ends, the light fades, my body tires and I stop. But the painting is not finished. And the next day or the day after when I can begin anew the paint has dried. Now I must move from the dryness to the wetness. I must move from stagnation to flow.
Only now fear can set in. Maybe my next move will be wrong. Maybe the risk I take of change will end in disaster. Maybe it would be better to accept the known, even if not quite right, than fail while seeking the revelation of the painting. I confess that when these fears take the upper hand I engage in what I like to call “painting around in circles” – putting the same color, the same form, the same everything on top of the work of the previous day. Until finally I get so fed up with myself that in a burst of energy I make a radical change in color or form thus moving myself back into the flow. Other days I ignore that fear and move more leisurely into the flow.
Similarly my life sometimes gets blocked as I seek to hold onto conditions which call out for change. The familiar is so comforting, that even if it is killing me, I hold on. In these times I must also face the fear, either with a logical, step-by-step plan or with a burst of energy and a surgical slice, and return to the flow, leaving behind the old way of being.
I am grateful that my practice of painting helps me face the situations in life that have grown stagnate and call out for a new flow. Perhaps you too have a practice that helps you face the need to let go when it arises.