Sometimes you actually hear the light bulb go off over your head. Sometimes it’s a gentle glow that slowly gets brighter (like the damn energy saving light globe in my bathroom that takes 10 minutes to warm up enough to actually light the room up). But other times – you hear it. It’s bells and the hallelujah chorus and happy dances in the lounge room.
I’ve only just come back from a workshop at Jane Davenport’s house. And Jane has just come back from a workshop with Jesse Reno. I love when my teachers take a class with someone else. I love seeing what they create, how their work is different under their teachers influence yet somehow still very them. But Jane’s post had more than that.
In amongst the photos of her work, her fan girl experience and her wrap up of the weekend was this. Symbology and meaning. Animals that she is drawn to, who magically show up at the end of her paint brush. And when they appear, she feels connected to something. Not just that they are pretty.
Ah, not just that they are pretty.
Oh, the room is shining bright from the light bulb above my head. No ten minute warm up this time.
You know what I’ve discovered on this adventure? It’s the single sentences. The single sentences that repeat over and over in your mind. The ones that whisper to you months or years after you first heard them. And this is one that I know is gonna stay with me.
Symbology. Meaning. Connection.
Sometimes art is about making pretty things.
But for me… in this moment… I feel like I get it now.
And for me, it is no longer about just making something pretty.
Just making something pretty is for people who don’t feel soul deep in what they are doing.
Just making something pretty is for people who want to be distracted from the everyday.
Just making something pretty is for people taking their first wobbly steps into the world of creativity.
But I’m not a new kid on the block (my favourite band in high school – my confession for the day). Now, I want more. I know there is so much to it. I’ve seen what it’s like to live this life every day. And I know what it feels like too, even if it’s just been for a day or two.
I want to feel full to overflowing with connection and meaning as I make things. The pencil to paper and the paint to canvas can no longer just be about something pretty.
I don’t just want to feel distracted from the ordinary, the everyday. I want to live the dream life I’ve imagined since I walked out of my high school gate for the very last time.
I’m no longer a toddler, taking tentative steps. I wanna leap and dance and play until I fall in an exhausted heap on the floor, catching my breath, covered in paint after a day where the world fell away. Where all I was left with was me, with painty hands. Finding meaning, finding connection, finding my own symbology.
That is what art should be about.
That is what a creative business should be about.
That is what life should be about.