Sunday, November 13, 2011

Being Seen


Custom Pet Portrait in Progress

Oil on Canvas

Never before did I appreciate art's ability to make me feel "seen". These days I am in contact with more people than ever before in my life. I am physically noticed by others hundreds of times a day, due to my day job. People like me. They feel helped and heard by me. This feels good. However, on the flip side, I feel completely invisible. At first this had a delicious quality to it. It was like performing on stage or playing dress up. There was no pressure or expectation. However, now it feels like my costume has become my uniform. A new identity is emerging and I just feel lost.

As I work on "Hansy" I become intimate with my old identity for brief periods. It is glorious and soul wrenching all at once. Now for those of you who follow Zen beliefs that warn against having an attachment to a surface identity, I know this is what I've been doing. I've preached against this in the past but obviously am not listening to my own sermon. My awareness keeps me from completely believing my own rubbish but does not kill the deep ache. Gandhi I'm not. Attachments I have. So be it.

If you've never painted I'm not sure I can tell you what it is like to watch colors blend and shapes form with a mere sweep of a brush. When all goes well it is like magic. The kind of magic I'm talking about is where you feel enough control to know you are holding the brush but you've let go enough to watch in amazement as images unfold like something greater than you was doing the work. I actually believe in those moments a higher power is involved. This to me is similar to the runner's high I used to get around mile 6 of a 7 to 10 mile run on a Saturday. It isn't a guaranteed experience but worth the effort to feel it just once an a while.

So stay tuned for the occasional high. These a fewer than ever before. Don't give up. They are still worth the wait.