It is my experience that many of the same rules apply to life that apply to painting. Playing it safe is easy. But eventually that gets boring, the process and the end product. It's easy to end up stifled and trapped in the same old pattern, without even being aware of it. And then maybe a light goes on. Or maybe as in this case, some comments, observations and suggestions led me to a try something new. Not to say repetition is bad. As in practice you often need to repeat things to refine them. But that doesn't negate exploring new territory.
And sometimes you paint something awful. That's life. Crappy stuff happens and eek there it is on canvas! Maybe we have the luxury of tossing it before anyone sees it or painting over it. But we need to have the courage to go to the kingdom of squirm and wriggle, to keep company with our discomfort. I read somewhere recently that a real measure of our practice is can we bear insult or feeling humiliated with some measure of grace or equanimity. Maybe that is the purpose of our bad art? To help us learn how to do this?
In the same way that we need to remind ourselves that we are not our thoughts, I think we need to remind ourselves that we are not our art. It has arrived in the world through us, it is not us. If I can understand this at a deep level I am truly free to create. I don't need to judge and be self conscious and measure and weigh what I create. Will people like this? Will they think I'm a talentless lout? Will they laugh behind my back? Ah the insecurities of the little self. But if we don't identify too strongly with what we create, if we're not too attached to it, it's not a problem. We can look at our work in a more objective way. We are freer to edit, modify, and learn from what we've done. If not we simply feel defensive and protective of ourselves and our work.
So while this painting is not wildly different it is a departure. If I am honest I will admit I feel a bit naked about the primitive quality of this painting. Maybe it will evolve into a new, personal style or maybe it's a dead end? Who knows. Time will tell. Instead of painting the usual painted, hand stamped squares I have collaged the entire canvas with different papers and then added paint. Green Tara is a new subject and I have added her mantra in various places. Can you see it? It's kind of like the "Where's Waldo?" of Buddhist painting. I often go back to a painting later and modify what I initially think is finished. So who knows what it will look like the next time you see it? I find that time gives more space and distance, a better position to edit from. So these are the places where art and life and practice intersect for me. Really we are all our own works of art any way. We just tend not to see ourselves that way. Are you a painting or a song or perhaps a novel?