I just started a new painting. This painting is for one of my best friends who happens to have a love of sunflowers. I hope that I can create this painting and it will be beautiful for her. But more than bringing beauty to her home, I want this painting to soothe her spirit. She is going through a rough time. Family member illness, a tough and ill-rewarding job, some health concerns of her own -- all raise my anxiety levels on her behalf. When my anxiety level goes up, so does my desire to paint.
I ask myself why I think this will make a difference for her and the answer is: I really believe that art can bring solace and peace. It can take you out of the moment you are in and bring you into another more still and precious state of mind.
But while I am doing this painting for my friend, I am also doing it for me. Just thinking about suffering of any kind just drives my need to escape it and painting has become the way I escape.
Does it do this for everyone? I think so. I don't know. Maybe. I guess I hope so. I hope everyone can be influenced to a more precious state of mind by a piece of art that triggers solace. Whether viewing or making it. It won't be the same image or style that touches everyone which is why I am very deliberately choosing what I think will bring my friend joy. At the same time, I can't paint something that won't also soothe my spirit.
I guess in my heart, I hope that this painting will let my soul speak directly to hers. That all the worry, even if for a moment, can fall away. And that the moment repeats itself over and over whenever she sees it and somehow my soul knows that her soul rests.
This may be too much to even hope for but the ripe, yellow warmth that is the sunflower's gift to late summer could just wash a little warmth over her spirit and mine.
By listening to my soul speak I strive to bring something universal to each painting. I miss the mark a lot and this painting is still just a horizon on a canvas. Then again, my striving could be a salve to the savage worry that gnaws our hearts.