On this Thanksgiving Day, a sparkly fine snow is falling outside, frosting the trees ever so lightly. The fire is burning brightly and warmly, my good husband sits next to me quietly writing, our beautiful golden retriever takes her position by the window behind me, keeping watch over the forest floor below.
It is a time when the world weighs heavily upon us. It is tempting to succumb to despair and fear.
I want to be mindful of those things, but my artist’s mind also needs to harvest Beauty, almost as an antidote, as a blessing to counter these dark times.
So it is a good time to think about why I am grateful to be an artist, as part of the many blessings that fill my life.
As an artist, I am grateful for…
1) The gift of seeing. Everywhere I go, I am compelled to look deeply into the beauty of things—how light shines through trees and pools on grasses, the palette of colors that delights the eye, the dark outlines of stately pines and distant mountains, the shifting shape and wonder of clouds.
2) The gift of wonder. This is the familiar territory of my inner child who is entranced by this beautiful world and looks at it with awe and curiosity and open-eyed amazement. She is the source of my delight, of my creative renewal, again and again.
3) The gift of uncertainty. As an artist, I am never certain how things will turn out because the art inevitably takes on a life of its own…like life itself. This helps me approach life in a more open way, allowing the river of creativity to lead me where it will.
4) The gift of cultivating stillness and deep knowing. I know that the source of much of my creativity arises when I can allow myself to be still and to trust things to arise from the deep well within. It gives me me a way to hold life in a larger perspective, even when I don’t like the direction things are taking me.
5) The gift of being part of a community of artists. I am surrounded by people who see things in unique ways and then courageously interpret that world through their own individual expression. I love and admire these friends and feel in a place of belonging with them.
I will end this blog with a lovely poem—“Pied Beauty”—by Gerard Manley Hopkins. Through his words, he captures the delight I have in being an artist.
"Glory be to God for dappled things --
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches’ wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced — fold, fallow, and plough;
And all trades, their gear and tackle and trim."
Cyncie Winter is a professional artist, creativity coach, and psychotherapist, grateful to be working with the extraordinary Kathy Beekman in this endeavor to empower artists in their creative life.