Art is an observation of life. But we can learn so much about how to live through thinking like an artist.
Every painting is a documentation of choices. Those choices are either made consciously or unconsciously, but everything from the type of brushstrokes to the saturation and values chosen to the color temperature is a decision that makes every piece of art unique.
Life is like this too, but all too often we forget about the little choices that we have available to us. When we make decisions out of habit and not through deliberate intentions, we lose touch with our power.
Life and art have a lot of moving parts and yes, it can be overwhelming. But when we start making choices more deliberately and consciously, we can really shift towards a more empowered and inspired life.
If you want a masterpiece, you need to create it intentionally.
Here's some lessons I've learned time and time again while painting that apply quite well to life as well.
1. Use your intuition.
I'll often look at my paintings and become aware of areas that don't seem to work. Then I'll imagine how they'd look if they felt awesome. I try to keep that emotion close to me as I paint.
When I paint through feeling and stop trying to just logically think my way through a piece, I end up with something really great because it comes from a soulful place of inspiration.
I use this intuition as a parent, husband, friend and businessman too. If something doesn't feel right, it probably needs your attention. But all too often we overcompensate in other areas instead of focusing on what is crying for our attention.
2. Don't spend too much time in one area.
When I'm painting, sometimes I go overboard in one section because it's fun or interesting. I'll catch myself getting to the details too early because it's immediately gratifying like eating the icing before the cupcakes are ready.
Don't skip necessary steps, it'll just cause more work later when you become aware of the imbalance. Be willing to put in the hard work now.
3. Know when it's time to move on.
When is a painting finished?
When any further brushstrokes wouldn't improve a thing.
A painting is never truly done, it can always be better. But sometimes we need to just declare, “ok, it's done” and go to the next thing. Perfectionism often destroys more than it helps.
How often do we obsess over a part of our life and go overboard? We're a society of excess and perfectionism because both give us instant feelings of accomplishment. When you feel like your spinning your wheels and going nowhere, move along, make a change.
Someone wise once said, “We aren't human beings, we are human do-ings“. Maybe we need to get back to just being a little more.