Art, Love and a Woodpile

By Teresa Smith, Journal Contributor.

I am an artist and I have the best job in the world. I put in the hours doing the work. I persevere and move through life in an artful way. I keep working even when I am tired. Even when it appears I am getting nowhere. Even when I should have a “real” job. I am compelled to keep going because there are paintings that want to be painted.

My being an artist is not just about making a painting; it is about all things in life. It is contemplation and reflection as I move through each day. It is regarding the blue on my brush and deciding if it is a perfect color for today. Tomorrow it may be turquoise or alizarin. I keep putting down the paint one stroke at a time until the painting is glorious enough to change the energy in a room or has fizzled out and needs to be resurrected into something new. Living life one stroke at a time is ideal, artful, and contemplative.

My dear friend Rob stacks his woodpile with patience and thought. Each piece is considered and placed just so, the wooden cart situated to create a sculpture of sorts. I don’t know whether he regards it as art. I think not, but I do know he appreciates beauty and prefers good design to happenstance.

This is where the line between contemplative and creative becomes blurred. Rob might say his stacking is contemplative and many would call it art. It is one and the same to me. What is the difference between picking up a piece of wood and discerning where it would be best suited and putting paint on a brush and considering where that particular color would like to land?

Like the woodpile, I like to think of each painting unfolding as a contemplative practice.

Making art that changes the energy in a room takes more than a concept. It takes putting in the hours, listening to the work, and pushing through the boredom. It takes being present and feeling sadness as deeply as joy. It takes faith that withstands fear. It is contemplative. It brings love to the surface.