I long to always paint in shades of grace.
But God above, how easy it is not to. How easy it is to grab a brush dripping thick black ink and stroke wide. To color outside the lines of understanding, of compassion, of actually knowing a human. How easy it is to glance, to assume, to paint my assumptions and call them another’s truth. How easy it is to wander off, looking for inspiration, and to find my inspiration in the obvious. In the loud and the bold, in the wild and flailing. How easy it is to ignore that which is quiet, sitting in the corner of a coffee shop, hoping to escape notice while she thinks her thoughts, engages her common sense, filters through equal parts curiosity and compassion.
How easy. And how truly pleasurable to the masses when we paint that way, in a way that’s easy and clear and palatable, that draws clear boxes to be checked off with that same thick black ink. Us. Them. Me. Other. Right. Wrong. Wonderful. Terrible. Intelligent. Idiotic. Honorable. Detestable. Truth. Lie. All. Nothing.
How easy. How clear. How gratifying.
How not at all the way I want to live.
I long to paint people as souls rather than positions, with vulnerability one can only earn by investing time and life in another, from a place that bears no resemblance to personal pride or superiority, with only the slightest streaks of black paint and rarely on a white canvas. I long to paint small and private and humble and always, always asking questions. Always assuming there is more to the subject that I don’t know. Always more to learn.
I long to paint people as though my art is a mirror turned on myself, rather than a lens through which to view a person. Because it is.
The shades in which I paint are always far more indicative of the artist than the subject. Art is always autobiographical, if you look closely enough.
And so, let me paint always grace.