Last night I was having a conversation with my sister that resulted in a epiphany.
I like epiphanies. I love those moments when clarity is revealed and life puzzles suddenly make perfect sense.
I have spent over 50 years of my life surrounding myself with stuff. I collected a lot of stuff, mostly because I could see a creative potential for it. “I can’t get rid of that – it has… potential!” I deluded myself that the more stuff I had around me, then the more creative I could be. And then I would get frustrated because needing to manage the stuff superseded creating anything with the stuff. The more stuff I had, the less I created. It was a dilemma.
But in the last few years, I felt myself drawn towards a more minimal attitude towards stuff. I craved clean and minimal spaces; I wanted to see clean surfaces free of visual clutter; I even wanted less color in my personal space, and more neutral and monochromatic hues. As I worked through a home renovation room by room to prepare a house to get ready to sell, I found myself loving the calm, neutral decor I was creating with a variety of beige shades to appeal to buyers.
I was puzzled by this in a way. It felt like a betrayal to my personality as an artist, where playing with vibrant color is my guiding light. How could I, as an artist that creates pieces with fairly intense color, be so attracted to such a neutral and minimal visual space in my home? I could not totally reconcile the dichotomy that was developing within me.
Until last night. As I talked to my sister who was teasing me that my towels were so “beige”, I countered without thinking that I liked the serenity of neutrals like beige and white and grey, and that they gave me the space to let my love of color come out in my art instead.
And as I said the words, the epiphany hit. It was that simple. I have finally learned that I need a serene and neutral space to live in daily, so that I can create art daily. The dichotomy works for me. I am creating more artwork now and with more ease that ever before. My simple grey decor in our new house gives my eyes and my brain the rest and relaxation they need to focus on the art inside me instead of the clutter around me. It all makes perfect sense. I no longer feel so overwhelmed and distracted as I once did. By keeping my home clean, clutter free and neutral (to the point of perhaps being boring to an observer), I can focus better on simply creating. And that’s when the color explodes.