I have always imagined myself painting, admiring and studying the works of others, yet I had never dipped a brush into an oil paint. Then a friend of mine began taking classes at Braitman Studio with Andy Braitman, Nicholas Stewart, and a few other instructors. My girlfriend painted an amazing first-time piece. As we discussed the process behind her painting, I felt a spark in my heart, realizing that desire to create art was still very much alive in me, lying dormant in black and white, waiting for color. What I didn’t expect, was self-reflection, personal growth, and stillness. I call art my therapy. Some days it’s free flowing. Other days, it’s more difficult and I leave knowing I need more self-work. What I love the most is how I lose myself in the process while I shut out the outside world and connect to others in the studio.
I drive away feeling peaceful and reflective, comparing painting to life. When we create (anything in life), we reflect. My journal’s pages began to fill with contemplative thoughts – you don’t have to be an artist to relate, so please stay with me.
* Life is like a painting, full of layers. Some are better than others. No one layer ever has to be the final layer.
* We are all born as a blank canvas that will never remain entirely smooth nor should it. Every texture, bump, scrape, and brush hair on the canvas reminds us that we are all perfectly imperfect and represents experiences that deepen our soul.
* Do your best to plan and prepare, knowing the plan you have sketched out will most likely be modified. Remain open to new direction from yourself and others.
* Find a mentor who wants to see you succeed.
* Don’t overthink every move; you will only stifle your momentum and creativity.
* Mistakes are never permanent.
* Patience will only help you see your vision.
* Don’t keep making the same mistake over and over because you will only get the same result.
* Painting, like life, is an adventure. Allow curiosity onto your canvas and into your life. You will learn more about yourself, the possibilities, and shed fears.
* Life will always be full on contrast. To see the dark, you need light. To see the light, you need dark.
* Not everyone will get or like your painting and the same applies to the people we meet. Accept that, reflect on it occasionally, but don’t let it knock you down.
* Strokes on the canvas can be smooth, while others are rough. Life, like paint on a canvas, is full of texture and imperfections. Those imperfections are what actually make your piece more interesting, just like the painter’s soul. Adversity on the canvas and in life opens you up to more meaningful interactions.
* Chasing perfectionism will box you in. Perfectionism gives you a paint by numbers result. Color outside of the lines. Be adventurous. And don’t live according to anyone else’s standards. The end result will be a beautiful portrait of an authentic you.
* Color your canvas, your life, with love. Be kind to yourself during the process. And be kind to others, giving sincere compliments and support.
* Just like painting, life sometime comes easily and other times we experience tremendous friction. Be patient and don’t give up. Pause, reflect, push.
* Everyone has a different story. No two painters paint the same way and if you’re copying someone else’s work, then you are not living authentically. We all interpret life differently. Comparison and jealousy will only crush your potential.
* Painters often dream of their vision and then paint their dream. You don’t have to be a painter to make to make your dreams come true.
Each morning we awaken with a canvas to paint upon. Find what makes you happy, never let go of perseverance, the desire to learn, and empower yourself and others. Creating doesn’t always apply to art. Creativity can be found everywhere, from the way we converse with our children, to business, problem solving, running a household, networking, and anywhere else we engage in life. Creativity, in any form or fashion, is an important part of self development.
“My life didn’t please me, so I created my life.” – Coco Chanel