Sunday, January 25, 2015

The Artist in Everyone

"Golden Drops of Sunshine" 
- Morning at the Desert Retreat House -

At this time of year many outdoor "Art Festivals" are hosted throughout the desert region in which we live - yesterday my wife and I attended one of them. I always enjoy seeing such a wide array of various artistic creations, paintings and sculptures, pottery and weaving - displayed by artists from all over the United States. But, for me, my favorite thing about going to one of these Art Festivals is the opportunity it affords for personal interaction with the various artists, talking to them about their work. 

Yesterday I was particularly taken by the "paintings" of an artist from Oregon - actually I'm not sure they were even pantings, at least not in the traditional sense. In fact, when I first encountered his art I was somewhat disoriented because it seemed to be telling so many stories all at the same time. From one perspective the paintings looked medieval, but it also looked modern even futuristic. A vast array of faces were also prominent in the paintings- many different people from all sorts of cultures and climates of many different shapes and sizes which was somewhat disconcerting and yet comforting all at the same time - nothing seemed neatly connected and yet at the same time everything seemed harmonious.

Seeing me struggle to find a coherent meaning in his work, the artist approached me and with a big smile on his face asked, "So, what are you seeing?"  I told him that I couldn't answer his question, "I see lots of stuff and I can't figure out what you are trying to do in the painting."   He then said, "Then I guess I have been successful" and went on to explain that he creates his art so that people can learn how to look at one world through many different lenses- after all, that's what artists do, they see the world through many different lenses -it's never neatly connected but it's always harmonious. 

That artist from Oregon went on to tell me that his mission in painting is to bring out the artist in all of us.

My conversation yesterday reminded me of something I once read about "creativity" in a book of Buddhist essays:

Creativity often seems like an unusual gift that few people
are born with or manage to acquire,
but creativity is accessible to everyone.
It naturally arises from your basic nature if you are open to it.
Creativity is something to be uncovered not something to be wished for

Many if not most people get used to seeing the world through one lens - that's probably why everyday, ordinary life is so boring for so many people.  They get up every day and engage in the same old routine, living into that same old story they have always told themselves about who they are and what the world is all about. 

And yet, every moment is a new moment full of surprises and brimming with beauty if you have the eyes to see it, if you allow your creativity to arise from your "basic nature."

I got up this morning and sat in my garden. I sit in this garden every day-the same old routine.  But this morning I just happened to catch the glint of the morning sun on an ordinary bush, drops of gold were resting on a leaf, radiant beauty, vibrant energy.  I was looking at the same old world through a different lens, bringing out the artist in me and in doing so, I was looking into the face of "God." 


  1. Great post.
    I've been a Florist all my life, and a pretty good one. I grew up working in my parents Flower Shop. I can attest to what you quoted "Creativity is something to be uncovered ,not something to be wished for". Creating a floral piece can be a spiritual experience for me sometimes. My Best pieces are the ones where, by some strange way, the flowers themselves almost seem to let me know exactly where they need to be placed. It's something of an Intuitive experience because I'm not really putting much conscious thought into it, it's more like it's actually creating itself.