I love to wander around arts and craft stores, to see the diverse supplies available to create with. Easels, sketch pads, molds, paints, leather crafting, wood, ceramics and countless other mediums. The main item that always interests me the most, are the canvas’. They come in all sizes, some variety of colors, material they are made from and thickness, but the one thing they have in common is, they are all blank. I stare at them and wonder, who will take this one home? what medium will they use on it? pastels, watercolor, oil or acrylics or charcoal? But most of all I wonder, what will this canvas become in the hands of the owner?
Creativity, to me, is the most common thing in this world, an adventure of a thought or feeling being expressed in color for all to see. Two people can look at the same painting and have opposite reactions to it. Not all expression can be easily understood by everyone who looks at it, but that is the beauty of it all, a mystery that only the right person can connect with, another soul whose canvas it painted in a similar way.
All canvas’ start out a blank, clean slate ready to be turned into a one of a kind masterpiece, sadly some are never shown to others, they are kept hidden from the public, by the artist, for fear of ridicule or judgement or destruction. Other artists display their work boldly on the street, not caring what others think of their work, for they know that the canvas is theirs and theirs alone to own and enjoy. They know that their creation was done to the best of their ability given the modalities and mediums available to them and the emotions they felt.
I once stared a painting for hours, it was titled ‘My life in color’, it was just a series of colored splatters. I studied it carefully, the longer I looked at it the more it drew me in, it was similar to one I had painted. In the background near the top of the canvas, I saw small bright splatters of pale pink and baby blue, just below them was a glow of yellow as if sun rays were emitting from them, I felt the innocent of new life. Blended below this were primary colors of red, blue, green, purple, and yellow, I felt the joy of childhood, adventure and possibilities. Moving down the splatters grew heavier and larger as the colors turned darker. Feelings of confusion set in; I felt the original joy start to fade, but continued staring wanting more so my eyes moved on. The colors and thickness of the splatters lightened up again, now with shades of green and sky blue, forming into a peaceful feeling, clarity was emerging. Further on the colors changed again, shades of grey and navy blue on the canvas as if the splattering had been thrown at it in anger and despair. The next section was heartbreaking to me, it was blank, nothing, untouched. What happened? Why is it blank? Was this section to unbearable to remember? My mind wandered with all the possible things that were so horrible, the artist couldn’t bring themselves to paint it. I continued on, needing more of the story. There was a single small splatter of black then the colors returned. The next series of splatters were every shade of blue, starting from darkest to lightest shade, then into white. I felt as if I were drowning and then came up for air, ready to breath again. The colors got brighter and cheerier, all the colors of the rainbow, as if pulling me towards hope. I stayed at this part of the painting for a long period of time, I loved the feeling of hope, the strength that was emerging from the trauma, renewed and stronger than the darkness that was before it. All the possibilities for the future, until I saw a glimpse of what was coming, from the corner of my eye that the colors were fading, I knew that I was nearing the end of the painting. Instead I went back up to the top, reviewing all the sections that brought joyful and happy feeling while skipping over the darkness. I repeated this several times, wanting the positive to be stronger than the negative. Finally I returned to the bottom, there was mixture of all the colors from the entire painting in faded tones, colors blended well together rather than in splatters, and like in my own review the brighter one over powered the darker ones. As I reached the bottom, I saw shades of brown surrounding a small splatter of yellow and white, as if the earth was protecting the soul. From it came the only shape that was not a splatter, but a wisp of yellow and white heading upwards. The painting had ended. I reflected on this painting for days, thoughts of how it touched me, I contemplated many times how this painting was much like what I would create if I put my life in color. I too would have sections of joy and innocence, sections of peace and growth, and the blank section I hate to remember. The difference of my painting would be the rainbow, mine would be painted last, covering the whole canvas, I choose to live in HOPE.
I guess if I expressed how I connect paintings to real life, I would have to say that, each of us are a canvas. We are not all given the same colors or mediums to work with to create our picture. We do not all have access to an easel or proper good quality brushes, I wish life was as easy as painting, if I make a mistake or paint something I do like to look at, I can grab a large brush, a tube of white and paint over it in a second, then it is gone forever, erased never to bother me again. But life isn’t this simple, we do not always have control of the colors in our world, all we have is the brush to create a picture how we look at those colors.