Painting is something which has always fascinated me. Now that I look back, even as a child, I always tried my best to do something with paints and colors. Back then, however, I would end up being terribly critical of what I had conceived- but the hobby stayed on. Little did I realize that it was the process of creating the art form that was superlative rather than the end product. The painting however, ended up being beautiful.
I recently decided to try my hand at an acrylic on canvas all by myself. So, very enthusiastically, I went shopping for all the essentials. I selected a painting that I wanted to reproduce and there- I was all ready! My excitement could not be contained!
During the entire process I realized, that creating a piece of art is actually like raising your own child. Initially, the canvas is blank, clean, white and pure. It is waiting for you to create something out of it. Then comes the infancy- or the part where you draw your picture on it. This was the toughest part for me, as it would be true of any new mother. That’s why I was so cautious during this stage- carefully drawing every stroke with love and care.
Once the drawing was complete, came the fun part! Playing with colors or what I would call the toddler stage. I mixed my colors on the palate and everything was going great! The colors turned out exactly as I wished and I played with the bright hues for a while!
But somewhere I forgot that the canvas has a life of its own too. I applied the color and the brush strokes according to my whims, but the canvas turned its back on me! I stared at my painting- I suddenly found it ugly. I wanted to tear it up and get rid of it- but I stopped myself. After all it was my baby!
I contemplated about what to do next. And that’s when it dawned on me-helping the canvas evolve while providing my creativity would truly make it beautiful. I fell in love again. The paints dried up with age and experience; and bettered with time. With a little help from me, it had reached it s beautiful self.
The process of creating art is a metaphor for understanding our children. For most part of our lives, we are dimly aware of the difference between their experience and our behavior. Behavior is what we observe- in others and ourselves. Experience cannot be observed, only felt. Like us, our children are simply experiencing, which is manifested in behavior. But we never experience them truly. We always attach the baggage of opinions, thoughts and judgments to their experience and sometimes to ours’ as well!
If parents would only understand this fact, they would eventually experience their child truly and watch it grow into a beautiful human being. But most parents limit their children in their own wishes, desires and opinions; since all of us are so used to this pattern in our other relationships as well! And when the child begins to stagnate, they find it ugly. Only if parents viewed their child as an entity in which experience and behavior are not divorced, they would begin to judge it less and appreciate it more. This would mean true compassion. Even though the child’s behavior maybe irresponsible and while we may have to oppose that sternly, we realize that he/she and we are intrinsically the same. And eventually it is all about the flower blooming from a withered tree…