First, two oil paintings, then the story behind both… make sure you don’t miss the challenge I’m offering you!
"[during the painting of 'Eagle and Dove'] light began dancing on the canvas (32 second mark, when I’m painting the sky), moving where I was trying to paint. It definitely got my attention because it was distracting to paint while that was going on. My guess is that the outside hummingbird feeder was swaying from either the wind or overzealous birds, and the light bounced off of it into the house, creating a light show on my canvas. However it happened, the result was light on my painting. When unexpected distractions occur while creating, an artist may choose to take a break from the work, or work through it. Regardless of what path is taken, disruptions and detours change our experience, and potentially the outcome of our art. Self-actualization can make the difference for whether or not the outcome is positive."
Update to the above story…
Here, I was only talking about distractions that happen when trying to create art (and applying those momentary lapses in control to an overall philosophical pondering about life in general), but what I was not addressing is the type of distraction that occurs at the inspiration stage of art (or any type of planning, even if deciding whether or not to have a second cup of coffee).
But if I were to consider these two paintings more carefully, Eagle and Dove and Eagle takes down Owl, I’ll remember that I was influenced by outside events and other people when I was inspired to create these art compositions. I’m not saying this is a bad thing. As I shared earlier in the Compare 3 series, blog article “Painting Music“, new work benefits from collaboration, and that was true of “Eagle and Dove”, which is also known as “Peace through Strength”. But obviously people wouldn’t be able to find my eagle paintings unless I offer a title with the word eagle in it, so I have since created an alternate title that I now use.
This is another example of distractions and outside influence. I changed the title of my work- and that’s far from the first or last time doing this- because I’m responding to what words people need in order to find and connect with my art. It’s good to be flexible and make sound marketing decisions if one’s goal is to share art and make connections. Compromise in the area of cooperation is healthy. Compromise in the area of vision and values is dysfunctional.
Eagles fly. I was looking back at my pictures of eagles. I took this very sad one, of a caged eagle who was being rehabilitated after a gunshot wound. Look at the information sign mounted along the fencing, in the second photo.
Eagles are meant to fly. After surviving a horrible ordeal, it may be rehabilitating to be caged for a short while. But it’s always important to return to the wild as quickly as possible.
I’ve experienced positive exchanges through the modern age of instant worldwide digital communication. Even the negative experiences have helped me grow (and this includes when I was targeted by terror groups). I don’t regret life’s winding road, and how it leads me to where I should go. But, when does a road become a hindrance, a detour, or even a dead end?
When we become aware of how much influence others have over us, we may realize that we are no longer flying. We are grounded, caged, or even dying. When our will to live is slowly whittled away, we may not even realize what’s happening until it’s too late. Humanity thrives on creative spirit, freedom, and unhindered access to nature, quiet, and God.
There may come a time when social media is recognized as dysfunctional and abusive. Has that time come for you? It did for me. I closed most of my accounts and I’m not active on the few that remain. As a result, my art has changed. I didn’t realize the influence of social steering on me, as I felt I was capable of rising above it. But awareness of restricted freedom does not set one free. Awareness alone is not enough. One must break the chains. I don’t regret painting art like “Eagle takes down Owl“; it was a reaction to world events and the culture of the time. I’ve often contributed to the historical time capsule, and I’m honored to do so. But a balanced life quickly counter balances when influence is too heavily weighted on the spirit.
As humans, are we meant to be caged? Should we chain ourselves to our screens to the outside world? What about our connection to our inner selves, and our spiritual channel to God? What happens to us when we ground our solo flights through life? What happens when our every thought is influenced by other people, events as portrayed by other people, and agendas that are presented with skewed or even manufactured perceptions by other people?
Healthy communication is about sharing. It frees humanity to speak from the heart, without restricting how many words it takes to say it. Short, clipped words are dynamic, powerful, and addictive, while also more prone to miscommunication and hostility. It often takes more time to say something that is healing and beneficial, while one word can tear down a soul.
This is what I wanted to present to you as a challenge today. May I suggest that you stop reading and posting on social media for one full week, or as long as you’re willing to last? Perhaps begin with a single day. An afternoon? An hour? Try what you can handle and see how you feel. If you accept my challenge offer, you may be surprised at how freeing it is to be released from the influence of so many voices in your ear.