What do you do with a painting that isn’t working? Stick it in the back of the garage or the back of the closet and forget about it? Leave it out where you can stare at it hoping a new idea will pop up? Keep piling more paint on it to see if eventually it may gel? I confess to doing all those things and more. Sometimes a painting will sit for years with me occasionally giving it the quizzical look. I may dab a spot of paint on it and look again. I may forget it altogether.
Life is like that too. There are things you stick in a dark corner hoping that sooner or later a solution will come to you. If you’re like me, there are things that sit in the dark forever. And there are things that I take out and stare at. Every now and then, I’ll throw a spot of paint at whatever the issue is. I can over-think almost to the death. I can over-think an issue so many times that I forget what the original issue was. What I rarely do is ask for another opinion. I either lock up that tired horse and forget about it or beat it to death instead of finding out what somebody else has to say about it.
Then, Out of the Blue, the solution will appear from where I least expect it and from a least expected source. But not like a bolt of lightening or blinding flash of inspiration. It comes gently, in a still quiet voice that says, “don’t over think, rethink.” Sounds simple. It really is. The problem is taking the time to stop, breathe and listen. I learned that lesson from this painting. It literally sat for over a decade in the back of the closet in the guest room. It was a hideous mishmash of bright garish colors. At the time, I didn’t realize those colors were blinding me to everything else about the painting. The colors hurt my eyes and made me want to look away. Avoidance was the name of the game until someone asked me if I could paint a painting in neutral colors for them . Bingo! I took a breath and began to rethink.
Instead of going into over-think over-drive, I got quiet and listened. I made up a palette of quiet neutral colors. As I concentrated on breathing, the still and the quiet came through. What emerged was made up of gentle strokes and soft peaceful color. What if I applied this approach to the problems of life? Instead of over thinking with harsh, garish responses, I could rethink gently with quiet neutrals. It worked for this painting. Maybe I can get it to work in other paintings and other areas of my life. We’ll see! In the meantime, it worked for a second painting too!
Once I gained an understanding of what happened with this painting, the 23rd Psalm popped into my head. Then I knew the real source of this direction.
“He leads me beside quiet waters, He refreshes my soul.” Psalm 23:..2-3