Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Enjoying the Journey

Having been involved in competitive ventures of some sort for most of the past 20 to 30 or so years of my life, whether in horsemanship, bicycling, tennis or other sports, I had grown to believe that success was determined solely by how well I scored, as judged by other people or a timer or some other such external measure. Not being very athletic by nature, this generally did not end well for me, as I never measured up to the others in my field, and I've spent far too much of my life feeling "less than" or inadequate. Never would I have believed something as simple as picking up a brush, pencil or pastel stick and putting it to canvas or paper would have had such a profound impact on me and how I view my world and existence. Nor would I have ever considered that being an absolute unskilled beginner at something with no real aspirations toward ever trying to measure up to anyone else's idea of "success" would have given me so much joy within myself.
I've only been painting for about five months now, but through the world of art, I feel like my mind's-eyes are already opening, allowing me to truly see for what feels like the very first time, every time I paint. For once, I'm not concerned with whether I'm "good enough" or "successful enough", or what anyone else thinks I should be or do to be "enough". When I paint, I am myself and that is, simply put, enough for me, right here, right now and it feels like home. There's a special kind of magic I feel when painting my own personal visions, whether from my dreams, the beauty of Mother Nature all around me, or even the quirky personality and lively spark of a precocious dog.

My artistic clumsiness is rivaled only by my enthusiasm for painting, but surprisingly enough for someone who has spent decades trying unsuccessfully to "measure up", I find an incredible sense of childlike abandon when I paint, no matter how the results turn out. And I feel like I truly am standing on the shoulders of giants when painting the magically wondrous natural world as I see it. Reveling in the pure joy of my oblivious beginner naivete, unfettered by worries about whether I'm "doing it right" or not, one thing I am learning firsthand when I paint is that the journey really IS the destination.
© 2013 Tammy Kaufman - On the Shoulders of Giants - soft pastels on 1000 sandpaper 4.5" x 5.5"

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