Really, both making a work of art and having a child are strikingly similar.
Both involve great uncertainty at the outset. There are more potential parents frozen in fear at the uncertainty and responsibility of bringing new life into the world than there have been probably at any other extended time in history. Sadly, many don't overcome this fear.
Artists or potential artists, when faced with the blank canvas and so much possibility, can also balk under similar pressure.
This struck me recently when I assigned a project to my college level students. The task was to illustrate a poem from a series. The hardest hurdle seemed to be merely to put pencil to paper just to make the first sketch. Most who had the courage to do so were able to make the second and third refinements without much trouble. But for those who didn't the excuses were myriad: I can't draw; I don't have time; I can't draw people, hands, faces, animals, whatever; what should I choose from the poem - there is so much; what do you think I should do? (can you just make the decisions for me?).
So many potential parents and potential artists trip on that starting line: commitment. To really start making something of a family and in art, you must say 'no' to a whole host of sparkling possibilities and say 'yes' to a host of potential problems and uncertainties. Maybe you'll have to work hard to figure out how to draw hands better because that is what your particular vision needs!
Once parents are pregnant, the uncertainty continues: What will my child be like? Boy or girl? Saint or Sinner? What trade? The possibilities are vast even though you have the most important parameters figured out (mom and dad will be the foundation and support and guide through their lives). Likewise the artist who has set his hand to his craft never quite knows what will come out at the end! He can have some idea based on what his vision and skills are, but like with children, all art makes demands that are unforeseen and ultimately has a type of autonomy of its own.
What could possibly overcome such uncertainties? Love. We need to be less afraid of making mistakes and more generous with bringing life. The artist is driven more by the love for the process and the product than he is stymied by the possibilities of error and failure. It is the same when having and raising kids. We need love, daring, and a little stupidity (luckily both of the latter are usually contained in the former!).
Hello there, I'm John H. Folley, an oil painter in the Boston School tradition. Thanks for visiting the Beauty Advocacy Blog, where it's my job to help you become a more discerning art appreciator.
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