‘Art’, what is it that motivates a person to create art? Hell, it’s not like we need artistic creations for survival, is it? Surely people only need to find food, water and shelter to survive the elements? Perhaps throw in a bit of love, a deity for control and a family structure for safety in numbers and there you have – it a society. Simple.
Yet, so many people reach for something more, something beyond the safe structures of our homes and the ‘necessary evils’ which restrict our existence. Some stretch out beyond the norm to express and share their visions with we mere mortals. What motivates them?
When humans first roamed the earth, their fragile continuance was governed by the weather and their food supply. (And although very well hidden in Western society, things really haven’t changed much.) However, thousands of years later, we find that these were not the only thoughts of our ancestors. Somewhere in the minds of these people, a seed was planted – an idea that if earth and water are mixed together, paintings could be created, and then the stories of their existence could be told.
Their dwelling places were covered by paintings, paintings that expressed to the onlooker descriptions of their lives, of their gods and spiritual beings, of worlds far away.
How did they know to do this if their whole being was centred on survival? Could it have been divine intervention? Or could some of them have yearned for something more?
The Universe is energy! The centre of life itself exists in every atom, which pulsates with the energy of the cosmos. Could generation upon generation of humankind unknowingly have tapped into this inexhaustible energy supply to create their paintings?
I often wonder what drives modern-day artists to create their works. Are people more aware of the nature of the universe and use the power within to complete significant pieces of artistic endeavour? Or do they blindly stumble into their artwork not knowing of the power that is waiting for any who choose to use it?
I discovered this energy in 1994 when I started learning tai chi. The very nature of tai chi is to make use of energy from the earth and from ‘within’ to create a force powerful enough to drive an opponent away from your body. As in all martial arts, finding the flow of energy is the key to achieving completion of a ‘form’ and ‘living the form’. Finding the energy out there from the universe and adapting it to your lifestyle is part of the awakening of the soul. Once I had discovered that this universal energy is in everything, I was able extend beyond a tai chi form and encompass this force into my own artwork. People who see my work sometimes tell me that they could never paint or draw. I seriously don’t believe them. I consider that every human on this planet could reach out and touch the energy of life and create visions of such beauty that eyes would stare in wonder.
‘Surely I could never draw like you!’ they say. My standard reply is: ‘You don’t have to!’ When we find that we don’t have to draw or paint like a grand master (not that I’m one of those) and just enjoy creating art for our own well-being, the realisation can be spiritually uplifting.
I had a friend who bought one of my pictures because she really liked what she saw. She told me that her artistic talent was in her boots. So I explained to her my thoughts on how anyone, no matter how artistically challenged they think they are, can create ‘art’. To heal and uplift your own soul through using universal force is a fantastic and rewarding experience. She chose to let go of her old perceptions of how she had failed at anything to do with art and decided to have a go. Since then she hasn’t looked back, and she is creating wonderful pieces that have been inspired by the flow of the universe.
Being able to stand up and declare that you would rather have a go has a far better effect on the self than never to have tried at all.
Choosing a medium, which describes your personality and makes the best possible conduit for transferring the energy from the soul to the surface on which you want to work, is the first step. Next is to relax, take a deep breath and allow the mind to forget about trivial thoughts. Some thoughts I had when I first started went something like, ‘Why am I doing this?’, ‘This is stupid,’ and ‘I’ll never be able to do this’, but persevering can bring excellent results. Remember, art is a very individual concept and there are no two artists who express themselves in exactly the same way.
You may not end up with a Rubens, but you definitely will feel awash with the energy running through you, and you will be filled with creative life.
Being part of the universe is in your nature. To be able to reach out at any time and connect with the energy that is always around and within you is the greatest gift that you possess. To have the choice to use this, though, is also one of the greatest and inspirational lessons. To use this at your will is only a matter of choice.
Jennifer Goard lives in the bayside suburb of Bonbeach Melbourne, and has been a student of Tai Chi for over ten years. The natural environment is the catalyst for her paintings.
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