I started a new mural today. It is meant to be a neighborhood scene, but where all the buildings are different places of worship. Kind of an interfaith neighborhood. The mural is for a facility that is supported by a diverse group of faith communities, so not only is it an interesting idea to communicate, it's also very heartfelt for the space.
So, I began painting at at about 10 this morning - working out the design on the wall as I normally do. I laid out the buildings and the people in a drawing of light green paint. I had a few things in mind as I played around with the images. I knew I wanted it to be loose. Not realistically rendered buildings, but rather, like I would draw in my sketchbook - fanciful, off balance. I also wanted the colors to be rich. My idea was to express the depth and beauty of faith through the richness and beauty of the color combinations in the rendering of these churches and temples. That's something I could feel. I was very excited to pour my own love of God, and church into my care for this mural.
An interesting lesson grew out of this!
I found, after making the initial drawing, that I was lost as to how to proceed. I kept trying things, adding colors, but it all seemed so very lame. I worked and worked for several hours and it all seemed to be a mockery of what I had been dreaming of making. In fact, because I was trying to express something so precious, it was especially uncomfortable to think of failing. Everything I did was coming out so dumb!
It wasn't until about 4 in the afternoon, after I had been working on it for about 6 hours straight that some things began to fall into place. At that point I began to feel a unity to the colors. Part I had gone over several times with different colors began to make sense. I started to have a vision of how to proceed. I worked for a couple more hours and left for the day.
The lesson to me was to think of all the times I feel lost or adrift in my life. There had been 6 straight hours of work today that I had been pushing forward, trying new things - all the while putting off thoughts that were telling me it wouldn't work, or that the idea wasn't good enough, or it didn't even matter and it was alright that it would be 2nd rate. Hah!
Finally, things began to come into view. Thank God! So now, it is nowhere near finished, but at least it is cracked open. I believe in it now. I know it can work.
I have till Friday afternoon to make it perfect!