Isn’t it difficult to ‘label’ ourselves when that label refers to something awe-inspiring? Labels, like brand names, conjure up images embedded in our minds by good advertising; sometimes really bad advertising!
I’ve decided to take the jump and call myself an Artist. Yes, immediately springs to mind names and more names and their works – Turner, Rembrandt, Monet, Da Vinci! How dare I even group myself with people like that? Well, I wonder if they called themselves ‘artist’ or whether they simply referred to themselves as painters or sculptors or … dreamers.
Two years in succession I took the pilgrimage to Lake Como in Italy to sit at the feet of the guru of Modern Impressionism, a genre I adore. This master’s name is Jerry Fresia and he is good – really good! I tried, I really tried, to “paint like Jerry” but to no avail. No one can paint like Jerry. No one.
So, this week I tried again … and once again failed dismally. But I’m not disappointed as I have learned a truly valuable lesson: Jerry is Jerry and I am ME. Why would I want to paint like Jerry? However, I can paint like me, using the lessons I have learned from Jerry.
He teaches a process through which he encourages his students to work. It’s a 10-step process and when I get to step 7, I begin to falter. And then the path forward becomes darker and darker and eventually I’m totally lost … failure. And then it dawned on me – I am not Jerry!
So, decision time: I am going to paint like Maria. I’m going to develop the principle of painting Light; always something I have aspired to … and we’ll see what comes out of it. Another valuable lesson I have learned from my Lake Como guru is this: Get Lost in the process and let go of the outcome.
Strangely, it’s a lesson I’ve been learning through a completely different (or is it?) method: meditation. Deepak Chopra, in his book The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success talks about that exact same process: he calls it Detachment. Ask the question and live the answer.
It may not in itself be immediately evident but it makes sense to me. So, when next I stand in front of my canvas, I shall paint with abandon and let the light reveal itself, all the time keeping Jerry’s lessons in mind but … doing it My Way. And letting go of the outcome.
The main thing here is the fact that I can get totally lost in that process of creation and now that I see my way forward, I’m more excited than I’ve been in a very long time.
A few days ago, a good friend gave me a whole bag full of succulent cuttings and I’m having such fun finding homes for these little treasures. Nature is fantastically nurturing; each time I go out there in my garden and do some work, I come back in feeling so satisfied – satiated – like I’ve just had the most glorious meal in the Universe. It’s really talking to God but mostly, it’s listening to God’s answers. It is so simple.
I guess I’m a very fortunate woman in that my Donald made sure that I could do exactly what I am doing right now. I just so wish he was here to enjoy my joy. However, this morning I saw him feasting in the Great Hall in Valhalla and he is a happy chappy. You think that’s irreverent? He was never reverent; he revelled in being as contrary as he could devise, often pulling the worst out of others. There were those who really liked him for it and others who simply couldn’t stand him for the same reason. Me? I watched, smiled, often thinking that he had gone too far but then it turned out that he was right, after all.
He was right more often than not. And when he suggested that I went to Jerry for tuition, he was right again.
Deepak’s teachings also include the phrase that if your daily prayer simply consists of Thank You, it’s enough.
I have so much to be grateful for but most of all, I am grateful – just grateful.
This was what I attempted to “paint like Jerry” and below is the dismal failure!