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The deepest quality of a work of art will always be the quality of the mind of the producer ...No good novel will ever proceed from a superficial mind.
-- Henry James


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Yesterday, I mused on Patricia Ryan Madson's book, Improv Wisdom. I said that maybe, if we're viewing life and people through a negative, critical filter, we need to change our own sight rather than change others. Patricia advocates a "gift" filter - seeing people and life for the gifts that they bring to us. Everyone has their strengths, and if we focus on that, we might be more thankful.

Which makes it a matter of correcting our vision.

I've come to believe that anyone can paint. Painting, in my opinion, is not a matter of manual dexterity. If you can forge the signature of someone else, you have all the physical talent that you need.

Painting is instead a talent of the eyes. It's a matter of seeing things as they are and not as we think they are. It's not an apple I paint, but a blob of red here and yellow there and spots of white and purple and blue. Shapes and colors... that's it. Tackling the outline of shapes is no more complicated than forging the curves in another's signature.

A friend of mine told me that she didn't have the patience to paint. After I convinced her that she might be able to do wonderful things with a brush, she said simply, "I don't have the time or the patience." And it's true that painting takes both - because much of the time is spent getting rid of what I think it looks like.

I get a first impression when I view the subject. If I paint only from my first impression, I'll fail and I won't capture it. I have to look at it again and again and again in order to get it right.

Now think of people. Do we let our first impressions stick and then approach that person from that perspective only? Or do we look at that person again and again and again to get it right?

Everyone has their strengths. Everyone has a gift. Do we allow ourselves the time to see them as they are to enjoy what they can bring to our life?


by Brett Rogers, 4/6/2007 10:00:42 AM


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