The Ground


“A painter should begin every canvas with a wash of black, because all things in nature are dark except where exposed by the light.”
Leonardo da Vinci

An artist must create a background. No matter musician, painter, writer, dancer or actor, we all must have a background, a beginning; a point from which our work and our lives begin to live.

The background is more than just a stage or foundation. It is more than a smattering of color in a painting and more than a random coloring of history in a story.

It is more than the melody that threads together the chorus and more than the step that connects the pirouette. It is more than the scenery beyond the actors face, and it is more than the first chord that any musician plays.

The background is the primal voice of our art. It is the first echo of our voice and the first cry heard from our hearts. In it we find the woven, inseparable brothers of light and dark. We find the first shadow and we find the first flaw.

The background connects all that can be contained in its margin. Without this crown of strength, the flatness of life is shown through in all works, and in all life.

The background is sometimes unseen. Often it is completely unnoticed. Sometimes it is gray, white or even invisible from man’s sight. But, it is always there, always the connecting source, always the point of awareness from which emanates all life’s colors.

The background is life. It is the stage which you call home. It is the rest you take before a long day. It is the thoughts and ideas you have about others, about life and about yourself.

What color is your background?

Is it textured, rich, full of noise? Full of darkness?

Is it full of light and awareness? Is it sharpened, or diffused?

Does it hold your heart in place? Does it move your soul, or move your life?

The background is a sacred place. It is the beginning of all creation, the garden, the birth swaddle, the uncurling from dreamless sleep. It is the place where the ghosts of the future speak to us.

The background is the beginning of the dream, the unseen witnessing of the miracle. It is the first chord of the grand chorus, sung by the universe for all men to hear.

Create your background well and live to brighten life.