Inspiring my students while working on painting some papers to use for an upcoming collage class turned into a lesson in faith for all of us.
Prior to class, they were told to a chose a theme and two colors. When they arrived they had to choose two or three brushes, several “tools” – palette knives, calligraphy pens, pottery tools, sponges and whatever else I could pull out of the studio. They had no idea what they were doing, so the choices were spontaneous and intuitive. No wrong choices here. The comment “working in the dark” was mentioned several times by several students.
Demonstrating what I was looking for with pink and turquoise, I felt like a child finger painting. Explaining my choice of brush strokes, use of tools, and color choices, I kept in mind my theme of “Sarasota Vacation” and mixed, splattered and conducted away. When it was their turn, they stood facing a large piece of blank paper, with nothing to paint. I reminded them to remember their theme, and put that paint on the paper. Pretty soon, I sensed a change. Not so bad after all.
Sparkle, texture, rubbing out, stamping, swirling, they all eventually came up with something they liked. Even if they weren’t sure what they were going to do with it! We made a delightful mess in painting “nothing”.
Their assignment this week is to gather objects, pictures, ribbons, or anything that fits their color scheme and theme. Synchronicity will take care of providing them what they need. When they left, I started to put away our toys and passed over a piece of paper that had some yellow and green paint on it.
The magic of my gift and the intuition that had been awakened during this “play” saw a daffodil. If I used some of the tools I was trying to put away, maybe I could make my painting look like a collage? Even if I didn’t really collage anything. I’d never done that before….. I didn’t have a plan, no value study, no sketch. I, too, was working in the dark. And then faith took over. “Listening” to my gift is imperative. It’s not so much bravery, it’s just pointless not to listen. I’ll wind up in my studio at 3:00 in the morning if I don’t.
So nothing got put away and out came the wall board tape for resist, sparkle paint, some stenciles, some swirls. All the while, keeping in mind the fresh beauty of that first Spring daffodil. It was fun, refreshing and I may incorporate the concept into some other paintings.
We may have all felt we were working in the dark that day. But, I’d like to thank my students for their gentle reminder of the bright path of faith.
Have you done anything lately to allow your faith (whatever it might be) to shine through your life, your artwork?