Long way to go, but time to start walking!
The phrase “Turtles all the way down” was floating around in my mind, in much the same manner the turtle would have been floating in space if it decided to, and I just had to try and paint it.
Well, it really started as an over-cautious sketch, and there were too many questions immediately. Of which size should I draw the Turtle so that I could give it enough details and yet manage to fit the correctly-scaled Sun and the Space in between? Which orientation of paper should I use – landscape or portrait? How far ahead should I put the turtle ‘in orbit’ so that it shows just about enough motion? Will I even be able to show enough of an arc to make it look like an orbit? What if i just eventually paint the Sun’s outermost layers – wait, do I even know the layers of the Sun? I really want to paint the sun spots and solar flares though because the Sun is so majorly mighty. Brilliant ball of fire. Maybe I should look up a photo of Space first. And so on with a thousand other questions like should the turtle be floating happily or just floating with a hint of impending doom and so on and on and on.
I almost forgot to focus on the image I had in mind. And I almost forgot that there was no way that a beginner like me would be able to translate even half of that image onto paper (needless to say, the mental image was one which was uber-rich in depth and grandiose to the maximum! :))
I ended up smiling, realizing that the original feeling was to paint and here I was getting tied down in too many details. Not a single pencil stroke made yet. Not that details aren’t important, but they made it seem impossible to begin anywhere. Maybe, the idea is to start, and then learn the techniques to get some of those details.
Followed this approach, and forgetting all expectations, enjoyed the experience of painting something a LOT. For the first time. The 2+ hours just flew by. Ironic part – I never once expected and calculated and predicted the fun element 🙂 Creating something (especially something you end up personally enjoying and liking) created this immense energy, is what I felt that day. Was just bubbling with it!!
Pri taught me some more techniques in the next painting (ongoing one) and the zone-like, trance-like experience which the space-turtle gave me got recreated, when I removed the over-thinking, fear of mistakes, fear of it not looking ‘right’, of it not being scaled properly, of it not looking realistic and not being “aesthetically pleasing” (whatever that means). There may be a reduced co-relation between what is there in the head and what comes out eventually, but that is such a joy..!
Too many words maybe, but ended up really enjoying the experience, and definitely a little bit hooked on to it! 🙂 Would urge everyone to try this and share as well..!
When the student is ready, the teacher arrives.
Nature has pretty much everything, if not everything, that we need to learn from: it teaches us the concepts of diversity, cyclical patterns and behaviours, of cause and effect, unknown happenings, of beauty, the role of micro, macro and extreme events, continual erosion and sculpting, symbiotic and parasitic relationships, of coexistence, communication, specialised behaviour, adaptation, evolution, survival, balance, extinction… you name it and it is there.
And all these, in an approachable, unbiased, giving, periodic and spiralling manner, done patiently, consistently, unfailingly, peacefully, and, beautifully.
It provides an excellent environment for learning, a medium which kick-starts self-reflection and self-learning with such ease once you connect with it. Its millions of years of wisdom awaken curiosity and teach us to sense, think and feel.
If only we shifted our priorities and perspectives..