Sunday, October 29, 2017

What Would it Take....

This is my current Work In Progress.  'October Chicken Coop' 

[Yeah, I'm really creative with titles.  Did I ever tell you that when I had finished my dissertation and was defending it in the Big Academic Meeting with All the Academic Committee Members, the only criticism they had was of the title?   True story.   So I asked them what would be better, they discussed it, told me, I changed it and they granted me my doctorate. Whew.]

It takes me a while to see whether a painting is finished.  I don't want it to just be good, I want it to be great.  I want it to take your breath away.  [Not that I ever achieve that, but that's my goal.] Along with considering what it takes to make a painting great, I've been considering what it takes to make a life great.  And what it would take for me to live that life. 

So, in the spirit of metaphors for life, I examined my painting. 

A great painting needs:

  • good materials so it will last,  appropriate framing for long term protection and beauty.
  • a balance of lights and darks
  • a balance of hard edges and soft edges
  • an interesting composition [arrangement of shapes]
  • a story - and if the viewer gets it, so much the better

What does it take for me to paint a great painting?   Ah.  That's harder to accomplish.

  • knowledge of what is crap and what is great
  • excellent technique and composition skills
  • the right materials for painting and framing
  • time - time to compose, paint, clean my tools, consider and finesse, consider and finesse, consider and finesse.
  • space - space to do it in and if that space is dedicated space so much the better. 
  • feedback:  Not just 'I love it, I hate it,' but 'This is what I see...' because that tells me whether a viewer understands what I'm trying to communicate in the painting.'

This metaphor is an interesting one for me.  What would it take for me to live my best life?  I started with the above lists and refined them:

  • Good materials
  • Balance [and I would add, a graceful way to deal with the times I'm in dis-equilibrium]
  • a story - a purpose
  • Knowledge of what a crap life looks like and what a great life looks like [for me, not in general]
  • Excellent skills
  • Time - I rush.  I want to stop rushing.  This means I need less on my plate.  That's hard for me, so I clearly need to consider this more.  
  • Space -I've been thinking a lot about head space lately.   Must consider this more, also. 
  • Feedback - from the right tribes [I have more than one and I like it that way.]

This has given me a whole lot to think about.  I'll be revisiting this regularly.  I'd love to hear your thoughts. What would it take for you to live your best life?

Feel free to leave comments on the blog, my fb pages, in an email, etc. 

We've been having such an interesting time talking about this, we've started a fb group so we can keep the conversation going:   It's a private group so it will be safe to talk about trickier things there with only other supportive people.  If you want to join us, I'd love to see you there:

You can also read Amy's thoughts on these topics on her blog:

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