There is something vast about an empty canvas just before the artist paints. Whether the master will through paint on in an expression of abstraction or set about mirroring on that blank space an image or scene before him, he will pause to consider his commitment and perhaps start in his right time. Once the brush is wet or the paint tin is filled and ready, the time and distance between his hand and a masterpiece holds the suspense before he puts a brush or vibrant fluid to the canvas. It is the point of potential. Maybe he is vigorous and enthusiastic; maybe he is fearful and reticent. Once that expression begins and there is contact between brush and the clean fabric, he is on his journey of creativity – sharing his inner sight, his hopes, his vision with the world.
Unlike other arts, there is only one chance for this specific expression, no rehearsals or dry runs; no critiques or direction to hone the product. The outcome will stand, even if for his eyes only. Once it is done, it cannot pass into memory or fade into obscurity. The artist may be inspired or he may be driven. He may be encouraged by other or he may be flying solo. This is his expression, his readiness. His job is messy and physical, time consuming and emotional. He will be the greatest critic of his work, and he will be the most satisfied if it plays out as he hopes.
Raising a child is an art and a science. It is a journey of human becoming. Before the creators and custodians of young lives is a canvas, vulnerable and impressionable. For some, the canvas is brand new life – crisp and fresh, innocently waiting for its first impressions. For others, the canvas has been approached and the wondrous work of that human becoming has already started. It is given to the ‘artist’ to amplify the essence of that child and to add colour, form, depth and vibrancy.
As parents and as teachers, we must commit to putting our brushes on the canvas as we raise our children. Let us be mindful of every mark we make until that child can take up the art direction herself. We must take the time to “see” the child, to reverently consider her potential and carefully help her to give this expression. Each adult has a responsibility to hold in our mind’s eye the gift to the world that child can become. As we add our paint, sweeping the canvas and giving the artwork breath and expression we need to commit to every stroke with intention.
Let us put the brush to canvas with kindness, generosity and love.