It is the thinking about, rather than the result of art, that teaches me. And this teaching is about more than just making art–although choices of colour and texture and composition are often lessons enough.
These paintings of the 47 dreams that provided questions for the cards of the Journey Oracle Divination deck have become my best teachers. This is not so much because combining the dream images is like putting a puzzle together, which it is, but because making sense of the result requires trust.
The title of this acrylic and chalk painting is this question:
Is there a tendency to want to
serve self more than others?
The combination of image and question requires a leap of trust. Only if I trust the good fit of the dream elements and the question, does the painting teach me the answer to the question.
Serving oneself a wedding cake is a metaphor for a high degree of self-focus. But a closer look at the full image shows that there is no place to have lifted the cake from, and no way to reach a shelf to store it.
Besides, what would normally be the moment of triumph when eating a wedding cake–is missing. So perhaps serving self has no place to go, and no one with whom to share.
And what about the others? There does not seem to be much attention for the task at hand, which hopefully is steadying the ladder, which looks to be an unstable perch.
Is inattention another version of wanting to serve self? Or is something else entirely happening here? Maybe there is no absolute truth to anything, but only the stories we tell ourselves about what is going on. It all depends on where one looks.
What if we look somewhere altogether different?
Not toward our wants and preferences, but toward the mystery hiding in plain view? What if we exchanged our clever accomplishments for bewilderment at the magnificence of ordinary moments?
Then even the smallest of creatures, a spider,
becomes a portal.
See what can happen when thinking about art
becomes a teacher.