Something drawn with a pencil or pen yeilds a precise and defined line. It has edges, a beginning and an end, and its structure is clear. In a way, a line drawn in ink or pencil is permanent – a mark of the past.
Painting was another story. While I ultimately made a few works I am proud of (they hang in my parents house), it was always an arduous project.
I hated waiting for the paint to dry.
In my mind, I saw a clean straight line like the ones my pencil would make. I visualized the whole picture all at once and wanted the process of getting it on the paper to be immediate, but the colors kept bleeding together. My efforts for order were constantly tested. The edges blurred and smudged to transform something so concrete and precise into undefined chaos. Every brushstroke held the past, present, and possibility to be influenced by the next. It got messy.
Before there was a chance for things to settle, life had already begun adding to the picture and what seemed simple and defined became a brilliant mixture of past, present, and what is still to come.
Lately, my formal art is limited to the watercolor set I bought at a convenience store and tattoo ink, but in my unfolding, I’ve found joy in the chaos of paint. It teaches patience. Encourages me to find form in the abstract, or to let the picture remain undefined. Its volatile nature challenges me to explore the things I am uncomfortable with.
It’s nice to know where edges lie and to rely on something staying as it was, but that’s not really realistic.
On the other hand, we can approach the art of our life with a paintbrush and palette, knowing that the color of one event may not dry before the next is added. Watch the lines blend and become messy, yet still see the beauty in the imperfection. Understand the patience required to let the paint dry before we try cleaning up the lines.
Life gets messy. We don’t always have the opportunity, tools, time, or patience to let things fully settle and make sense before something else is added in.
When it looks like nondescript chaos, remember that blurred lines are places of possibility and opportunities to shift perception.
Our lives are beautiful works of art.