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Don't Shoot the Messenger!

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When I started learning to paint, I spent a lot of time and energy analyzing what I was doing wrong. I continually focused on what was missing, how the painting wasn’t good enough. Fortunately I had mentors who encouraged me to break free of these negative thoughts and judgments. My work flourished and so did my enjoyment of the process.

Over time I have noticed that when I paint, I am completely free. As an artist, I do not ask myself: Why? When? What? Where? How?The reason I don't ask these questions is because I know the answer is always "It is perfect the way it is." That is what I love about art. No matter what it is, or where it is in the process, it is always perfect. Art is about the process every bit as much as it is about the product.

This photo is a perfect example. I could not figure out what to paint so I painted the canvas black. Before I finished I stopped, and it was perfect the way it was. With art, you never make a mistake because it is always perfect. You can do no wrong. You scratch the work and the scratch is supposed to be there. Art is always growing and changing. It has no right or wrong. No good or bad. No up or down. I love that. It gives me such freedom. I paint something, and if I don't like it, (which is not wrong because everything is perfect) I just paint over it. To live in a world where you can make no mistakes is nirvana.

I once did a painting, and while it was still wet I took it to the car to take it home. I stood it up by the car and while I was not looking, the Universe caused the paint to slide down the canvas. Upon my return my first reaction was upset (this was in my early days before wisdom set in.) Then I realized that it was perfect the way it was. That painting has become one of my most admired paintings. You never know how the masterpiece is going to emerge. You are the vehicle for the canvas to expose the painting that already exists. You are merely the messenger that facilitates the process.

So go out today and liberate your art from all right and wrong. Allow the Universe to create through you. Think of yourself as the messenger for your creative expression. And don’t shoot the messenger!

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Guest Sunday, 17 December 2017