Life Lessons I’ve Learned From Art: Beginnings Are Messy


“Imagination is the beginning of creation. You imagine what you desire, you will what you imagine and at last you create what you will. “George Bernard Shaw

Lines scribbled acrossed pages, brush strokes slapped on a canvas, your first hints of color arranged and laid out like a mosaic, trying something here and there but wiping it away and putting it somewhere else again. The constant measuring and re measuring and the drawing and redrawing that begins to mimic a dance. There are many starts, over and over and over again.
With 2018 just around the corner I cannot ignore the beginning of a brand new year. Beginnings, however, are messy, clumsy and often wrong. Many days I stomp off in frustration promising never to return again but only after I add one more thing or fix just one line. After awhile I have learned that beginnings are messy and wrong but the first line or brushstroke is not made in stone (unless you’re sculpture but in any case I’m sure there must be away to fix that!) and that I enjoyed the rough possibility that we call a sketch. For in that mass of messy scramble of lines some form begins to emerge. Out of the abstract, values take shape, out of chaos, order is born. From possibilities to certainty.


There is much comfort in knowing that perfection is not necessary in the beginnings. There is comfort in knowing that perfection is not necessary at all to make something meaningful or beautiful. And it is because of these stages that I am convinced that the Law of Entrophy cannot be the final answer for how often does out lives resemble this process. Thankfully, laws of physics apply only to heat and energy and not to art or the complexities of human’s emotional lives! I have observed, though, my real life beginnings mimic my artistic beginnings. Messy, uncertain, chaotic, often wrong but not written in stone. Art has taught me to trust those messy starts and believe in the form that emerges and that the light will eventually break through. I have learned that with each new beginning and new start, my experiences will help me make the right decision and guide me with my initial marks. 

 In the couldron hidden deep inside my soul, an idea is churning. It is definitely a new beginning. It will definitely be messy, it will definitely be chaotic and I will definitely make mistakes but I will trust in the creative process for chaos is only creativity finding its way to truth. 

“First comes thought; then organization of that thought, into ideas and plans; then transformation of those plans into reality. The beginning, as you will observe, is in your imagination.” Neapolitan Hill

Human Frailty in a Paradoxical World

“Let go of certainty. The opposite isn’t uncertainty. It’s openness, curiosity and a willingness to embrace paradox, rather than choose up sides. The ultimate challenge is to accept ourselves exactly as we are, but never stop trying to learn and grow.” 

― Tony Schwartz

Time is  the best example of what I mean by a Paradoxical World. It is a paradox of meaning and meaninglessness. The universe dark and wide gives no meaning to time when galaxies are born in eons.  Our own existence is rooted in thousands of years and our own earth in the billions. When time is in abundance it is meaningless. And yet much of our lives are dictated by this very meaningless object that scientists are unsure of its existence. So much of our limited lives revolve around time which inadvertently brings meaning and urgency to those moments we find significant and yet they flutter away like breath. It is indeed a paradox to have something so important like time be so very unimportant.

Human Frailty is the human response when we are confronted by paradoxes. I’ve placed a 3 dimensional figure in a 2 dimensional space where background emerges into the foreground and even encroaching upon the figure like truth encroaches on us. When faced with impossibilities of prardoxes, whether it is time, science, politics, or art, we have a tendency to shut down. We become inflexible, thus emitting all of our strength in denying what is in front of us, eventually collapsing under the truth of what we are trying to escape. Indeed our very lives are paradoxes at times.

But it is not my wish to leave this artwork on a negative note. I do not see this as a hopeless endeavor but as an opportunity to grow. It’s a continuous circle that loops for our benefit. As we circle downwards we will yet again loop upwards.

“The Universe is very, very big.

It also loves a paradox. For example, it has some extremely strict rules.

Rule number one: Nothing lasts forever.

Not you or your family or your house or your planet or the sun. It is an absolute rule. Therefore when someone says that their love will never die, it means that their love is not real, for everything that is real dies. 

Rule number two: Everything lasts forever.” 

― Craig Ferguson, Between the Bridge and the River

What’s Happening?

What’s happening?
So ends another summer. Like a whirlwind in midsummer the kids are back to school leaving me with much space, time, and quiet. Indeed, the silence is so great it can be felt! This being the first year where both children are at school, the desire to slip into a coma is overwhelming, however my brain very rarely lets me rest much like a busy toddler and it talks incessantly in my ears. So once again I’ve taken my pen up, or rather iPad keyboard and decided to write about a few things that are happening in my own artistic journey!

Elements of Art

The most immediate “happenings” is my second ever oil painting workshop I’ve called The Elements of Art. In this course I have created a series of lessons that is devoted to the elements that make up art. Each element is studied and practiced each week which aims to give artists of all skill levels a stronger voice in their creativity. I am passionate about keeping art a personal experience. Although, some aspects of painting is systematic, my goal is to foster the individuality of the artist.

Commission Work

I am also excited that with my seascapes I’ve been able to commission a few pieces of work. It is important to me as an artist to connect with others on a deeper scale. Through unspoken words I seek to relate to people through personal experiences and memories. Empathy plays a huge part in this connection which is why commission artwork is the most challenging and yet rewarding experience I can do as an artist. Most people who seek commission artwork are complete strangers and I must be able to capture the nuances of their personal experience, mesh it with mine and compose it into a memorable work of art. This requires far more than viewing a photograph but as I practice more meditation and mindfulness I am becoming stronger in visualizing their memories and translating it to art.

Fine Art Prints Available 

It is always good to receive feed back as it gives me new ideas and considerations that I have not thought of before. It has been brought to my attention that I should have prints available so with pleasure I have decided to do just that. I have been uploading to the website Fine Art America, some of my more popular works of art.

https://fineartamerica.com/profiles/lori-farist

Writing 
Lastly, I am becoming more dedicated in reaching out through blogs my own personal journey with art. Art has taught many many life lessons over the years which is kind of odd if you think about. Most people assume you don’t use art to learn anything. Most people assume the opposite. You learn how to create art not learn from it. However, from my personal experience art has a lot to offer if you open yourself up to the experience and the lessons it teaches. It is with this in mind that I am writing a series of “lessons ” that art has given me. Most professional blog sites advise to keep feeling and philosophy out of your blog but in all honesty I cannot figure out why. Art is very much driven by emotions and the way we think. It is my wish to open the conversation to others and explore the depths of its meaning.

I do hope that you continue to follow along, as it is the connections between each other that spurs creativity and is the nourishment that give new ideas and visions the ability to grow!