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Risking ruin

I've been a fan of the art process vs. getting too attached to the "final" product for as long as I can remember. I often lose interest in "art" I've already made and feel compelled to destroy it in order to try and make it into something else - see where it could possibly go at the risk of ruining anything that "worked" in it already.

A few pieces that managed to survive this process of dying and undying at my hand, rose to the level of my wanting to keep their metamorphic new renditions around, as transformed, for a while longer. But, eventually, I have too many of those too and not enough empty space in my head or on my walls to make room for more painting or creating. And so I have to consider letting go of them in order to make room for what might come next.

There is a place just before every stroke of the brush in every painting where you get the choice to leave everything as is, or risk ruining it all in order to find out what could be. It can be a place of fear, a place of courage, a place of knowing or a combination of those or any other emotions. At best it is a place of faith that thrives on keeping your eyes and heart open to change and growth, even if painful, and not closing your eyes and heart in fear of the yet unknown.

Computers have changed this process somewhat. I can take a photo of where I "was" before I went on to explore something new in a painting and I will have that "original" (or a copy of that original) to fall back on if I make a mistake along the way, if I go too far. It's not so easy in life unless you count being able to always recall what was via Facebook reminders. Still memories are just memories, not the present moment, the current choice, the real painting that you might have to risk ruining in order to discover that it might turn into if you exercise some faith and practice the art of letting go.

In practice of all this, I've been cutting up "original" paintings and turning them into bookmarks. It's mostly been an easy practice of letting go. And then I painted this while sitting at market one day letting go of other things and I started to feel possessive of it, afraid of cutting it up, fearful of emptying my heart to make room for the next painting. I kind of like it just the way it is. It doesn't need more contrast or more skill or more or less color. I put the whole image on some products because I wasn't ready to let go of fussing with it, of having it.

But today, I've decided to go ahead and cut up the original and then sit down and pick up a brush again to paint what's next. Call it an act of faith.

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