Written by: mindfulnesspaintings
I’m in the middle of an art challenge. A bunch of creative types, like myself, have joined this class that’s all about making honest art. We’re all hoping to silence those negative voices that judge our creations and spoil our creative process. I give a lot of lip service to the idea that my art making is all about the process not the product, but sometimes I get caught in the approval and judgement trap. In these moments, I am not in the flow. I’m not gently noticing what’s happening in the present moment as I work. I am not mindful, centered, and at peace. Instead, I’m outward focused and looking to some kind of recognition and validation for my work. This piece I just created has helped me realize that I need to turn my attitude towards my work on its end. I need to get back to having my personal “Right Side Up.”
Which is right side up? This piece got flipped on its end after it was finished. Is it right “Right Side Up” or “Upside Down”? I posted this question on social media and there was a preference for the image on the left, but that didn’t make it the right answer. In fact, the answer was personal. Each person had the joy, fun, and freedom to choose the image they enjoyed the most. People got engaged in the question. I think it’s because people recognized that “good” is just a perception. When it comes to making art, I wonder is there’s such thing as good. I do, however, believe that there is such a thing as honest art: art I make just for me, art I can hang upside down or right side up (if that’s what feels right to me), and art that lets me be mindful, open, and inward focused. I also want others to be able to hang my art sideways if that’s what moves them. That’s their honest interpretation.
There’s freedom in realizing that Upside Down can be the Right Side Up. People blew my mind when they said, “Neither! Put that painting on its side!” Good for them! How awesome it is to be aware that there’s no right answer. I am not there yet. I’m no master at making honest art. However, I accept the challenge and I support others as they make steps to accept this challenge, too.
We can silence those voices that judge our creations and spoil our creative process with negative voices. Let’s focus on the process. Let’s fight our way out of the approval and judgement trap together. Let’s flip our attitudes towards art on their end and find our personal “Right Side Up.” Let’s embrace what we create and embrace the creations of others without concern for what’s good and bad. Together, we can start a new art movement that that is driven by honesty, not validation. Imagine a community of art makers embracing the present moment, mindful of their own creative practice, and driven by the desire to be true to their work. To be perfectly honest, I ache for that. Do you?
Right Side Up or Upside Down?, 2020