Make Your Art Where You Are
I had a flash of "Aha!" after yoga class this morning. During Savasana I was blissed out. It was lovely. And there was beautiful music playing in the background, Om Mani Padme Hum by Jane Winther.
Then, I was driving home all blissed out and thinking about drawing and I had a vision of a face I wanted to draw. But I wanted to draw it big - big round happy blissed out face. But, my big paper is for drawing class.
Then, Aha!, I don't have to wait to have excellent-mediocre-or-good drawing skills before I can start making the art I want to make. I can make art with the drawing skills I have now. I can make art right where I am. If I wait until my skills are good enough to make the art I want to make, I won't make any art.
I didn't know I'd made this rule for myself. It was a secret rule that led to to other rules such as:
The Rules: You can't use the big paper to make anything you want. The big paper is for drawing class and you can't draw on it until you can draw.
Me: But, I want to make a big face on the big paper now.
The Rules: You can't.
The Rules: Because you think you have to learn to draw before you can make art and you don't know how to draw yet. It will take you years of practice and many more classes before you learn to draw. So no. You can't use the big paper.
Me: What if I decide not to think that way any more? What if I decide I can make the art I can make now? And learn and practice at the same time. What if I decide I can do what I want with the skills and supplies I have and make the art I want to make right where I am?
The Rules: That's totally up to you.
The Rules: You're the one who makes The Rules.
That would be like me telling a new acting student the she can't work on a scene until she has perfected her acting skills. That's silly. We do exercises. We work on our skills and we work on a scene. You do the scene you can do now. A year from now after continuous practice of the exercises and after working on many more scenes, she will perform a different scene. That will be the scene she can do then. Now, we'll do the scene she can do now.
Oh, my little head gets all twirly from time to time.
By the way - Om Mani Padme Hum is a mantra to/for/associated with Kuan Yin, the embodiment of compassionate love, loosely translated as, "the jewel in the lotus". I didn't know what the mantra meant until I came home and looked it up after I had my little Aha! dialogue in the car.
Kuan Yin, of course.
A statue of Kuan Yin sits on my bedside table. I forget about her for the most part. I forget about compassion and gentleness especially when it comes to the way I treat, think about and talk to myself. This whole experience - the bliss, the Aha!, my little chat with The Rules - feels like what it really was - was a kiss on the forehead from Kuan Yin. And she whispered in my ear, "Make your art where you are."