The Canvas and Palette of Your Life

I almost threw out a painting that I was working on several days ago. It just wouldn’t come out right, and I thought it was a lost cause….

And then, I thought…well, I have heard that paintings get painted over sometimes….so why not at least throw some paint on this canvas and see if I can make it work.

So, first attempt…..and the painting was not what I had hoped for at all….so I put it away for a day to see how I would feel and what might come up. And, the next day or so, I tried again to modify it, cover up what I thought didn’t work, and see what I could do to make it look like what I meant for it to be…..This was a first attempt at this particular animal, and it was looking like every other animal except the one that I was trying to paint! Back to the canvas day after day after day. I sometimes share my progress with my paintings with several friends who enjoy seeing the stages of a painting. Not so much with this one… the voices in my own head were critical enough and I didn’t want to add any more to the jury within….! I only shared with one dear person who I know is supportive and kind, and who I trust to show my imperfect process ….in my paintings and in my life.

Onward. More paint added, more adjustments made…..better, but still not right. Put it away again for the day. I became amused at myself having become a woman obsessed with this particular painting. Every extra moment became devoted to working on it. I can be persistent, if nothing else…!

Still not right…but getting better …..

And then, it actually began to look like what I was attempting to paint…..this animal was beginning to show himself on the canvas! Such excitement and relief!

I have finished the painting now, and it is good enough.. I still see areas that are not quite “perfect”…but it is good enough. It is actually a gift for a dear friend, so I put even more pressure on myself….it is a surprise gift and I want it to be a happy surprise….Ah, the internal voices within and their constant chorus and judgment. Yet, I am happy to say that I have added other jurors to the group who speak much more on my behalf with kindness and compassion and a more objective eye….and I am grateful. So grateful. I am continuing to interview more of these positive jurors….it will be an ongoing project for the rest of my life….

As with most things in life, there has been yet another lesson for me in this process. Perhaps it is one that some of you may be able to relate to as well?

Don’t give up on your life…..the canvas is not done yet. and things can be painted over and shifted while you are still alive… can keep working on things….you can keep going. Don’t throw out the canvas before you get to see what might become a masterpiece. Your life. Your canvas. Your palette of colors. Your glorious imperfections that add to the overall beauty of who you are and all that you bring to this world. You are unique. You have beauty that is uniquely yours. You are a work in progress, and not done yet…..not while you are still here. You are beauty in the making. Walk away from whatever you are working on if you need to for a while….it’s ok to take a break. And things may look differently in the morning. Take your time. Be patient. Laugh at all the versions of your life that may not be quite what you were exactly hoping for….and keep on going. The canvas has more to reveal. So do you.

2 thoughts on “The Canvas and Palette of Your Life

  1. I love your analogy. It’s just perfect. We should never give up on the canvas of our lives. I had a similar experience where I painted something when I was 18 and I was satisfied with it at the time, actually liked it, but at 57 years old I looked at it again and thought “it’s not complete”. As I analyzed it I could see how it create an even more pleasant image. And isn’t that also like our lives… We might be happy with status quo but later find deeper significance. Isn’t life just so awesome! Take care, Morag


  2. Life is so amazing and awesome, I agree…. And we need not judge where we were years ago compared to what we can be today. It’s all part of creating the canvas of our lives, yes? All lessons to be learned and adjustments to make…. And imperfections to appreciate and even celebrate. Thank you for your great comment….. I’m glad you related to my post. It’s lovely to find members of our tribe all around the world….


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