Gratitude doesn’t have any requirements. It is unconditional. It just presently states what is true. It is the currency of the heart and is accepted without resistance whenever expressed. No one argues with gratitude. It is kindness, awareness, humility and appreciation born of a consciousness that is expanding and it is the ultimate gift when it is bestowed upon us.
However there is also a valuable shift that occurs when the upwelling of thankfulness rises within us. When we step outside of ourselves, even momentarily, objectivity occurs.
And this state, this pause, this opening of awareness is when our Art can be seen and then changed in a new way.
Coming back into the studio after a day off, squinting your eyes when you are looking at what you are making so your view is obscured or even closing your eyes when the paintbrush touches the canvas so you can be freed of how you habitually mark the canvas – all these motions are after the same kind of objectivity. If we can see our Art clearly, without prejudice, without forcing it into the prescription of how we always need it to be and instead let it have some breathing room, then there is the distinct possibility that it can become something new and different. It can change.
Our Art is meant to chronicle our present moments, freed of our tendency for repetitiveness. Of course it is difficult to always do but nonetheless we are aiming to be operating fully in the present as much as possible. This is why, when we make Art, often the stresses and concerns that persistently follow us around in the day, subside.
Objectivity, being in that state that is not entirely about ourselves, brings with it a level of sensitivity that becomes freshly demonstrated in the art that is developing before us. That breakthrough piece that just seemed to magically happen often comes in part because we were approaching it differently.
It doesn’t happen all the time. In fact it rarely does. Mostly things are pushed along in the same old way. We are creatures of habit. But there are those moments, those times when our awareness seems to expand a bit to accommodate a fresh perspective, an objectivity and a generosity of spirit with ourselves and each other.
When this occurs remarkable art sometimes does too. It is these moments, when you know you have crossed a threshold, stepped into a new arena, unfamiliar but wondrous, that make it all worthwhile. These moments are often experienced alone, in your studio, surrounded by all your previous efforts.
But this does not matter. It really is a private victory anyway. It is a win for that part of you that let go, the part of you that intuitively knew where you were headed before the rest of you did. The Art that is made from these moments reminds us again and again of the limitless creative potential of us all. Sometimes it seems too good to be true. And for this fact alone, especially today, we can surely be thankful.
“When you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” Paulo Coelho
In Gratitude, Nicholas
the founder of Art2Life.
With over 20 years experience as a working artist and educator, I’ve developed a systematic approach that brings authenticity, spontaneity and joy back into the creative process.