If you have read any of my earlier posts, you know that I am an artist, and this is central to my identity and passion in life. I have been painting pretty much all my life, and this passion is now leading me to art school starting this fall. Anyhow, it is in this context that the following has occurred to me.
When I make art, it just happens. When I start a painting or drawing I pretty much never know how it will actually look when I finish. Stuff just evolves and works itself out as I go. Sometimes I feel just as much like a spectator as a creator as I see things fluidly develop on paper or canvas. I often find myself looking at a finished work thinking, "wow, I made this". Really, I don't know how to describe it, but I pick up a brush, pen, or chalk pastel and somehow my passions and emotions become visual.
This is also how it is with my life in general. Things just happen and work out. It's not always easy, but it's always beautiful in its own way. In my art, the media I work with are often challenging and take a good bit of experience to be good at. I have been developing and training my artistic skills since childhood. I've come to the point where technique become natural and fluid.
In life in general it's been the same way for me. I have been through some very emotionally traumatic situations, and that is when I have most developed artistically and as a person.
When I was in high school, my mother (who I am incredibly close to) struggled with serious mental illness. She saw and heard things that were not real, and lived very dark and painful false realities. This was the hardest time of my life up to that point, despite the fact that she had already dealt with severe health issues and other trying things had happened. I was isolated, afraid, and completely powerless. I couldn't do anything about the accusations, the chaos, and the heartbreak going on around me. But it was at this point in my life that I grew most as an artist and a person. I began to pour pain, intense emotion and deep passion into my art like never before, and I gained a greater capacity to feel and love deeply. I learned a lot about pain and life In general. Through my suffering I gained a much greater understanding of life and other people. I learned to be sensitive and kind like I couldn't have been before, and as a result be able to help others experiencing pain and crisis. All these things are invaluable as an artist and as a person in general. My mother came out of this time of darkness due to medical intervention and emotional support, and I (along with my family) came out of this time far stronger and as a much more loving person despite my utter brokenness and trauma.
I wasn't expecting to go that route with this post, but I guess the point is that despite, through and even because of the pain I have experienced, things have been made beautiful and somehow better. The moments of darkness have led and contributed to the kind of experiences I mentioned at the very beginning of this post. Through the pain I have been through, I have experienced things naturally fall into place in my life. Doors open and opportunities arise in the most unexpected ways, and life changing decisions are easy and natural. Life just happens.
I often look at my art and am amazed at the fact that something inspiring somehow happened, and that who I am in some way has made it on to paper or canvas. In the same way, I look at my life and am awestruck by how things work themselves out beautifully even in times where things rationally don't make sense. Trial and pain have played and still do play a significant role in the development of my life and my artistic expression. And in a lot of ways it is due to the rough patches of my life that things go so smoothly and naturally now.
All of this brings me to the awareness and amazement that there is creativity and power beyond me that weaves my life together. As a Christian I believe that this is God, my creator, the source of beauty and meaning in the world. I see him as the ultimate, truest and most original artist-- the very reason that I am able to create anything beautiful. And because of him, my times of pain have resulted in deep artistic and emotional beauty that I value beyond words. And now, things just happen.
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