Brush Strokes


The great artists have this rare ability to make every detail matter.  Every brush stroke, every note, every nuance just so.  And this perfection rests not exclusively in any individual note or brush stroke, nor even in the series of strokes or notes, but in the dynamic interplay between the various features.  In the harmonies and tensions that manifest only as a result of the unique combination of elements. The light is enhanced by the shadow, the hard by the soft.  The bass works with and against the treble. This is what we might call the sublime - that transcendent moment when we behold a work of art and see a final product that is so much more than the sum of its parts. Add a drop of yellow to red and an entirely new color emerges, orange and wonderful. Art, like life, is ultimately irreducible.  We cannot pull it apart and expect to find its essence. Its essence requires the interconnection.
Without unity, a novel or poem is nothing but scribble - letters and punctuation marks scattered across pages.  Without unity, a symphony is random notes – mere noise.  Without unity, a Picasso is smears of color and shape. Unity, then, is that subtle, but absolutely integral quality that underlies, that ties together, that makes whole.
You know where I am going with this, don’t you? The pieces that make up our lives: the careers, the relationships, the routines, the hobbies, the interests, the dreams, the commitments, ought to contribute to our sense of completeness.  These are our brush strokes.  These are the notes to our life’s symphony, the chapters to our story.  At least, they are supposed to be.  But sleepwalking through life has left many of us in the dark.  And anyone can tell you that when you paint with the lights off, you are bound to make a mess somewhere.  Remember, your life is your art. 

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