Saturday, June 14, 2014

What fills your sails?

I have been learning that Joseph Campbell's idea of "following your bliss" as a blessing to the world can be a life lesson.

Recently, I sort of got stuck on a whale painting binge. I would put on youtube videos of whales swimming, and soundtracks of their singing, and just sit at my paint desk and let the images of the whales flow. After a few sketchbooks full of these, I realized that I had a children's book! I am in the process of having some giclees made of some of the final images, so the art can be up on a wall, and not just in print. As I worked on these, there was some voice in my head that told me it was indulgent to follow my bliss, that doing something purely out of joy was not what I was supposed to be doing. "Be responsible, do something meaningful, contribute," the voice would say.

But I wanted to paint and make beautiful things.

Do you know why whales jump out of the water? Scientists don't always understand why, but it seems to be something just about the joy of doing it. Let's remember that. Jumping for joy, doing anything for joy, only adds to the wonder of the world, and our place in it. I know there are injustices to work against, hungry people to feed, knowledge to struggle to find, suffering. But there is also bliss. There is a beautiful world to be celebrated.

Art can do this.
Sharing your art can do this.
Choose Joy.
It is never wrong to jump.

“There are painters who transform the sun to a yellow spot, but there are others who with the help of their art and their intelligence, transform a yellow spot into sun.” --Pablo Picasso

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