life’s great big canvas

Life is a great big canvas, throw all the paint you can at it. ~ Danny Kaye

I find this concept fascinating.
It makes absolute sense, if you consider your life a blank canvas and paint it as you go along.
Think about the people you know. The people you love. How do they paint their canvases?

Little children fling paint like mad. Some of it may not even hit the canvas. It may be a hot mess, but still beautiful to behold.

I can think of some who plan out their art with laser sharp precision. I may be stylistically stunning, but what does it make you feel when you look at it? What do they feel when they look at it?

(I’m not saying we should paint our life canvases for other people’s eyes, but if this is the concept with which we’re going, we’re going to see other canvases just as others will see the canvas each of us paints.)

What about those who paint their canvas with precious little color? Surely there are those who throw only black or gray at the canvas of life.
(I can’t help feeling that is sad. But it’s not my canvas, perhaps it’s the most beautiful painting ever created even if it’s devoid of color.)

Some folks are abstract, right? The canvas doesn’t reveal an image necessarily, but you see the passion with with the paint was thrown.

There are those who continually reinvent themselves. Does that mean there are countless “overpaints”?

How about the canvases that are completely covered? With paint thrown so that it rises off the canvas. Is this evidence of a life well lived? Or is it an example of absolute chaos?

If I examine my own life canvas I can “see” a great deal of purple at the beginning of my painting. It was my favorite color when I was a little girl. It’s slapped on there without rhyme or reason.
Then there are loads of rainbows. I’ve loved rainbows ever since I can remember.
After this I see evidence of outside influences. Having to conform. At school. At home. It looks more like coloring inside the lines than throwing paint as expression of self. I’m actually quite good at coloring inside the lines. Though it wouldn’t be my first choice, especially then.
There is a great deal of red after that. Dark heart’s blood red in great splashes. It’s from a time in my life that was filled with pain and anger.
I see brightness of color in great big splotches. (Not quite polka dots, but close.) It’s more tactile, I can see how I painted with my fingers. It is filled with joy and wild abandon, and more love than has ever been present on my canvas of life. This portion of the painting is enormous.
But following that comes nothing but gray. It’s the kind of gray that feels like a prison. What’s interesting is that within this gray are little flashes of light and color. They are fleeting. The gray permeates the canvas.
A great black slash follows.
And I begin to see timid strokes of color that grow into broad bursts of color. So much pink. And green. I see abstract rainbow colors together. But not a traditional rainbow. Yellow comes to play. Also light blue.

I expect to have many more years to throw paint at my life canvas.
I don’t know if we realize how important it is that we consider life this way. To chuck paint blindly. To make meaningful symbols. To embrace life so fully that no matter how the paint is applied the canvas is the most creative and beautiful work of art.

Danny Kaye knew what was up. Throw as much paint as you can at the canvas of your life! Make it the most wonderful visual example of who you are.
If you’re lucky, you’ll have people in your life who will invite you to throw some paint at their canvas and ask permission to do the same with yours.
Remember this: Some people will think it’s beautiful and some will criticize it. Disregard that and ask yourself if you think it’s beautiful. It’s your canvas. It represents your life. If you find it beautiful, isn’t that all that matters?

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  1. Pingback: every moment is a blessing | therobynbirdsnest

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