One dimensional colouring is something inexperienced artists get stuck doing even though they’re great at sketching. Later, they get disheartened when their work isn’t admired, even after spending countless hours working on a canvas. In an after hours tutorial last month, I asked painters to choose four colours they didn’t like. What colour isn’t a flower? The next challenge was to use up all the colours they’d squeezed out of the tubes. They were to use them together on the canvas without blending.
They protested at first, but eventually saw my point: Pink is equivalent to “a colour you like”. Pink flowers will get stale or boring really fast because we’ve seen them before. One artist was brilliant. She’d improved on her past work and practiced a new skill. She tossed the brush and used the back of a spoon and a knife, as I had taught her to do in previous sessions. Even after she was showered with compliments, her response was “Oh, did I do something interesting? I’m not sure.” I can’t stand false modesty (compliment fishing) but what’s worse is a total lack of self belief. I’m not going to chase after a person and tell them how great they are a second time.
We paint life experiences, friends, acquaintances, strangers and loved ones the way we want to see them. But when we do that we miss the chance to make ordinary experiences feel new and exciting. My advice is simple. Use your voice effectively to create a beautiful world in which others appreciate your talent, beauty and wholesomeness. It’s time to start writing our own happy ending. What don’t you expect will make you happy? How don’t others define you? Choose four things. Experience them all together without trying to blend in.
When you look at your work just before you post it to the world, or at your reflection in the mirror just before you step outside, know that in that moment no one is more worthy than you are to share your experience.