The Brushstrokes That Go Into The Masterpiece
Updated: Nov 5
Before you read this post, just know, the concept I am describing does not apply to artwork that you look at and immediately think what a load of ______
Just like Less and Alea did checking this piece out in Santa Barbra, Cali last year.
You must appreciate the art before going any further with it. Enjoy x
I appreciate the fact that Leonardo Da Vinci chose to paint the Mona Lisa with the smallest paintbrush he could find.
I appreciate this masterpiece and the fashion in which it was created, not solely for art's sake, though. I appreciate it also for life's sake.
(Though maybe not as fine as those Da Vinci used - so small that each stroke is not even distinguishable to the naked eye.) The paintbrush strokes in our life are what communicate our complexities, thoughts, challenges, failures, experiences, successes, lessons... the list could go on.
While every paintbrush stroke is but a little thing.
Take a step back, and we realize that these little things help us to create and understand, the biggest and most beautiful thing: which is our life.
I recently listened to a podcast in which the host was interviewing a man named B.J Miller, a triple amputee and doctor/physician. (Best known for his TED talk, "What really matters at the end of life" if you want to learn more about this remarkable man.)
On the podcast, B.J Miller goes into depth talking about his life after the trauma - having both his legs and left arm amputated - wherein he returned to college, but more notably coming to the self-realization that life was about to be very different for him.
Without getting into the details too much, upon returning to his University, Princeton - after the life-changing event - B.J Miller decided to change his major from Chinese studies to Art History.
Why? You may ask, would a man smart enough to get into Princeton (and all the preconceived notions of that), who had recently become severely disabled, want to study Art History?
Quoted saying that art took him “to another plane and onto questions of human existence.” For B.J Miller, Art was therapeutic; it helped him gain perspective as he refashioned himself.
Reflecting on the thought, "maybe art had something to teach me."
In the podcast, B.J even goes onto suggesting that individuals - going into healing professions like he is in now - should make ventures into studying the humanities.
He says that art is a way we can delve into the questions around meaning and identity - particularly today where these thoughts have been crowded out, leaving nothing but zombies.
And this is also true for life, not only medicine.
The paintbrush strokes have been washed over.
I am not for one second saying you should go to university and study Art History. But maybe I am saying there are other ways in which we can look at art, life, and all that it is made up of.
I was listening to this podcast on the way to a training session with the Arsenal Women, having the day before been to an art exhibition.
While driving I couldn't help but think about how art is everywhere around us - it is so synonymous with life, the longevity of it, the communication of it, and the signification of it.
So why don't we acknowledge it, every so often? It's become an untapped potential that we think only a few "hippie" people should appreciate. And it's just waiting for you to apply it to your life and create action from.
B.J Miller is a prime example of taking life's circumstances and finding ways to use what you have access to, to overcome and be better for it.
Art can be a breath of fresh air. It can change our perspectives. It can make us smile. It can start a conversation.
Brushstrokes are a not so little thing.
(Unless however, when you look at a piece and think it's merely just a bunch of lines on a canvas, like in the photo above, then I guess it isn't such an impactful thing...)