Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Yesterday I painted during my 3-6:00 dedicated time at the shop. The Critic showed up (my internal editor) and said a few things about my efforts. First I heard, "I've forgotten how to paint." Then I heard a sneer and, "As if I ever knew how to paint in the first place." I recognized these unkindnesses for what they were (fluff and fear) and painted anyway.

Later, an ole guy came in for airplane parts (he's known us for three years, now) and observed that I knew how to paint. Yup. He asked if any of my work was in the shop (oh, just on all the walls here), so I showed him the portrait of David.
He harumphed and said that he guessed I just about nailed a likeness. Then I showed him the abstract in process that was right in front of him. He violently turned away and said, "oh no, no, that's not for me. I never figured out what that's all about."

Apparently, for this man, if you can't figure it out, it doesn't exist in front of you. Even for three years.

A customer came in and looked at the works in progress and gave me his opinion: "Well, you just let it all hang out, don't you?"

The next blow came in an email from my dad, who is babysitting one of my paintings. Dad intended to compliment it, but ended his comments with

I never thought Picasso had the right idea,

even as successful as he was!

So, in one day, I had been told by myself, a curmudgeon, and my father that abstract painting is impossible, invisible exhibitionism, pointless, and just plain the wrong idea.

Phew. That's a lot of creative poison. But leave it to my really old friend Lao Tzu to have the antidote. My translation from the Tao Te Ching says:

A good artist lets his intuition

lead him wherever it wants.

This was exactly what I needed to hear. The intuition (no wonder I call it intuitive painting!) gets to take the lead. It's not about what I want (acceptance, popularity, big bucks...) It's about wherever the intuition leads me.

Well, that's a relief. Now if I get the wrong idea, I can blame my intuition.

Said another way, here is an alternative definition of the Law of Attraction from the blog The Compassionate Eye:

instead of trying to attract something to ourselves, we are invited to surrender to the Presence that is seeking to make itself known in and through us

So, yes, I guess I do let it all hang out. And maybe that is exactly what is needed of me.