The Ground

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“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.

 

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Source

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“Because when I dream, I feel no fear,
And when I am fearless, I am my most creative self.” ― Nikki Rowe

I, like many other artists, often find myself staring at a blank canvas wondering where to start, how to begin, where to place the brush or which angle to approach. This can be frustrating. But, it is a part of what we do. When this happens we must look deep within and find what we are missing. Sometimes, we can see it staring right back at us. This is the art of finding the source.

The funny part about being an artist is that when we openly express creatively, we most often go blindly into a piece without visualizing the end result. And, many times, even when we have an idea or a visualized concept, halfway through it we change direction, we change color, we might even turn the canvas upside down and start over, or sideways, or upside down then sideways. The possibilities are endless.

In our work, we move forward only with connection to the source. Sometimes the source hides from us. It is within our creative nature, however, to find where it hides and breathe life into it.

We’ve all had that once piece of canvas that just never seems to come together. No matter how we approach it, it simply does not speak to us in the way we’re searching for. It speaks a foreign language. It sits still and lifeless, staring back at us, mocking our every attempt to push forward and finish our work.

We paint over it, we rewrite it, we add whites, highlights, dark colors and texture. We change the background, we change the foreground, we change the edges, we change everything about it and end up in frustrated limbo, unconscious of what we are really doing.

This is what happens when the source of our creative energy is missing. Though, it’s never really gone. It hides from us, sometimes in the corners of our canvas, in once spec of color that we overlook time and again. The source hides in our lives as well. This creates imbalance.

In our lives, we must connect with the source. We must center ourselves and find where it hides.

All lives are connected with the source, with that point of awareness that begins and ends within us all. It is the sacred place of our hearts, the hidden space within our souls.

In life, we cannot paint over our frustrations. We cannot color over the blackness, or add white to the mopped mess of color that we’ve created. Sometimes, we must step back and look for what we missed from the beginning.

All of the arts and all lives must have a connection with the source. Without this connection, our work does not speak and our lives remain static and droll. It is through mindful awareness where we find this firm ground and let it speak through us.

Stop and let the source breathe through you. Let it guide your brush and your heart. What was once a mess of confusion will soon become a mirror of life that emanates from within. The canvas will then speak to you, the language will become clear and it will look at you as you look on it. With the source, the work will come alive.

Be aware of the source, and begin your great work. Begin your life with this connection and move throughout time with the flame of creation.

Muse Your Moment

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“She smiled and said with an ecstatic air: “It shines like a little diamond”,
“What does?”
“This moment. It is round, it hangs in empty space like a little diamond; I am eternal.” ― Jean-Paul Sartre, The Age of Reason

Inspiration. Where does it emanate from? From what source does the muse originate? How do we find it as we stare at the blank page, or gaze deeply into the white canvas?

It is said that each day we are given a moment, just a solitary point of awareness within a fleeting second where we can choose to capture the flame, where we can choose to see our heart and its desire. This is the moment where we capture our muse.

The muse comes in many forms. It can arise from one line we may read in a book, or through the emotion we witness around us. A person can inspire us with their words, their smile or their gaze. The wind can blow a seed in just the right way, and we are then captured by the muse of nature. It is within our awareness that we find these fruits.

We must be open to these things if we are to create truly and passionately. The moments come and must be captured, but so many go unnoticed. So many are left wasted as we’re often distracted by worldly things.

The screen of the smartphone blinds us at times, though it can also be a conduit for our muse. The busy lines at the store confound and irritate us, but within this line muse can be captured. The traffic jam riles our rage and tries our patience, but within this temporary solitude one can surely be inspired.

Each moment carries with it the ability to transcend our awareness and cultivate our passions. Each second can inspire us to create, to smile and to walk ahead with a strong heart and a clear vision. It is our duty to recognize the subtle gifts waiting all around us.

Whether you are inspired by a painting, a phrase, a dance, song or even by sitting on your couch watching Netflix; capture this moment. Let it speak to you through your heartmind.

Some may be inspired by the patterns in a leaf, while others may feel the emotions of the world as they hear a bell toll. Whatever it is, be aware, be sound and be alive in this time. Be the muse of your own moment.

Life is one continuous beautiful moment. Don’t let it pass you by.

Free the Circle

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It is said that a spiral is a circle that has been set free; a spiritually actualized form. In many ancient cultures, the spiral represents a universal pattern of growth, renewal and the ever evolving journey of life. It is a pattern that all human beings have recognized throughout time.

The spiral is known in the mind’s eye. It is brings about the gnosis of self, reminding all of the inward and outward evolution of mind and spirit. It is used as a guidepost for understanding and remembrance of the source, and of the journey back home.

We live in a spiral galaxy, in a world of spinning electrons and circular patterns of microcosmic spirals that no human can see. But, we can feel them.

The artist knows the spiral. He knows the pull of the brush along that sacred form, almost pacifying as the stroke is placed. The writer knows the spiral, the beginning and the end, all at once; the inward and outward evolution of the story. The composer, the actor and the dancer know the spiral as well. It pulls the heart and mind in a rhythmic dance of parallel light.

Spirals tell us that the world is new, as much as it is old. It reminds us of a time when the balance was maintained, with the heart and the mind in tune; atonement of the spirit.

It is along the spiral where we find the true path of art, and of life.

Take care of your spiral, of your sacred space, of your present moment. This ensures that we always embrace universal change. In this space, we witness  the power of creation at its essence; one continuously unraveling and evolving present moment, one continuous infinite spiral.

We must accept this as truth, as artists and as spiritual human beings.

Compose

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“May what I do flow from me like a river, no forcing and no holding back, the way it is with children.” ― Rainer Maria Rilke

What does it mean to compose? To put together, to create, to begin a project? All describe the action well, though some only see the term as relating to writing an email. In the act of composing, we begin our journey into the world of our creations.

To compose is to breathe life into an idea. It is the musicians tool of creation, as it is the same for the artist, the writer and the dancer.

To compose it to begin. It the footprint of creative thought, the first steps of an infant idea. It is in composing that we find the beginning, and in this beginning we see our first impressions of the final result. We see the end of our story, the final brush stroke, the final chord of a melody and the final step of the dance.

In composing, we see the ebb and the flow all at once; the compliments of our creation intertwined. We see the river of our thought begin and empty as if looking through time.

A few miles away from my doorstep there is a river. The river is not small. In fact, it is one of the world’s biggest. This river knows the beginning and it knows the end.

The river is a master of composition. It is the master composer, flowing from its source and emptying into the world. It moves over everything at all times, flowing and finding its way from the source and toward its eternal home. The cycle of creation completes the river and drives it throughout time.

In our work as artists, writers, dancers, musicians and as all creative souls, we must compose like the river. We must be full of heart and clear of mind. If our work is to touch another, its composition must begin in the heart and transcend the mind. It must bare the soul.

Compose every day, even for five minutes, free of inhibition, without force and without holding back. This is the way of the artist. This is the way of life.

Form

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“You are time, and time cannot be created or destroyed. Time just changes form.”
Khalid Masood

What is form? Is it something that can be measured by something else? Where does it come from?

This is the paradox. Because at its very essence, even form has no form. It is all but formless, though it remains. This is art, this is the art of form.

In Taoist thought, the Tao is said to have form but to also be formless. It is all things, pervading and permeating everything. This is art, this is art on all levels. It is writing, it is dance, it is painting and it is anything which takes the creative energy out of the soul and places it onto the stage of the world.

Some people have a specific form of style. Style indicates thought. Style indicates a plan, a comfort or showcase of skill. Form should never be confused with style, though without form, style cannot be. The goal of all art is to have form, to have style, to illicit emotion, inspire thought and to be seen. It is through the formless form that we deliver this to the world.

As Bruce Lee once said. Water is formless. It takes the shape of whatever vessel it’s placed in. If placed in a cup, water becomes the cup. This is the formless form. It is the goal of all art.

To become.