She whispered it to me, this Goddess of the Moon. She said, "Create what fills your soul and reflects the glow from within."
Um, it could have just been the moonlight playing tricks on me, and the painting didn't really speak... but she did speak in a way, a figurative way, and it was an important message for all of us who recognize and attempt to feed our creative sparks. Yesterday, I ran across an online post by a wonderfully gifted artist who shys away from showing her own work. She's been burned by flip comments from non-artist friends, and it makes her wary of revealing her soul to others. Yes, I said "revealing her soul," because that's what her creations are. They are pieces of her soul that she has woven into physical evidence of her eye for beauty and meaning.
I've been thinking about her, and this emotional struggle, most of my waking minutes since I read her comments. She and I even had a similar online conversation years ago. It hurts me that she was wounded by offhand comments that a friend made, partly because I know how supportive and encouraging this artist has been of me and other artists. Mostly, though, it hurts me because here is a person who digs deep, works hard to produce her vision, and then has to wonder about the reaction of people around her when she chooses to reveal what she has made. By the way, her art is amazing. It combines a huge array of skills in all different media, and it will "speak" to you because of the combination of realistic details and heartfelt emotion captured in them.
I have to say her friend is missing out on an incredible opportunity to inspire and be inspired. When it comes to art, my conclusion at this point in life is that there are two very different kinds of people. There are people who "get" art, and there are people who don't. It's not like Dr. Seuss's Sneetches wanting to have, or not have, stars on their bellies because other Sneetches have them, either. It seems to me that most people are satisfied with their choice to "get" or "not get" art. The friction is created when life brings a "get" and a "not get" together. You can be friends on so many different levels, but if art happens to become the subject of conversation in this sort of mixed friendship, there will be friction created by their opinions rubbing against each other. Count on it. They simply do not see the same things when they look at the world with a creative eye. Sort of like that funny cartoon that occasionally makes the rounds, the one with the color scale as seen by women versus what men see, a "get" and a "not get" literally see and describe the world differently. From what I can tell, there comes a point where you finally realize it is simply a difference that will not change...and you take care to treat each other's view with respect. You open your eyes a little wider, you stretch your heart a little bigger, and you think about how the words you say will affect the other person. You do it out of respect for your friendship, and you do it for your own sanity. If you are a "not get" and a "get" friend shows you a piece of artwork, you can acknowledge the time and effort she put into making it. If you are a "get" artist, when your "not-get" friend makes an off-the-cuff remark that seems insensitive to you, then you are going to be hurt (no doubt about it, been there, experienced that)... she's not even going to realize she said anything hurtful. What can you do? I don't know. I really have trouble with it myself. I'm starting to think that the only thing to do is attempt to filter her comment through a sort of mental translater and take all of the good from the translation that you can. There will be times when art is once again the subject, and it may be that you don't understand how she can't "see" something. Then it will be your turn to think and carefully choose words. Let's just hope that the balance in your friendship can keep those little moments from capsizing the relationship boat. Happy Sailing, and may your day be a good one without too many unfixable/unsolvable/regrettable moments!