Controlled Breathing or Hyperventilation
It's All Relative!
If art has taught me nothing else, it's that everything is relative. This is by no means a concept that's restricted to art, but being that I'm most relaxed when I'm creating, this is when things tend to make more sense to me.
There are examples of it all around, and you don't need to look very far to find them.
Have you ever noticed that when you're having a bad day, the slightest thing sets you off? Normally this small thing wouldn't bother you, but today it's the straw that broke the camel's back.
Or when you're bored, time seems to practically stop, but when you're doing something you enjoy, it seems to be over in the blink of an eye.
When I'm creating a landscape painting, I can control relativity fairly easily. I can make a color look brighter by intentionally placing it beside a much darker color. Or I can make a tree look large by placing it beside a small building.
The colors aren't really brighter and the tree is no larger, but because of their relationship with the things around them, they appear that way, and so we believe it to be true.
Being an artist has spoiled me, and I started wondering if this kind of, for lack of a better term, manipulation of perspective could be rolled over into the real world.
So I started playing with the concept.
First, I took a $100 bill that I was given as a Christmas gift and laid it on my desk in plain sight. This was mad money that I could spend however I wanted and it wouldn't affect my budget whatsoever.
Then I went online and started looking at shopping sites. It was funny how everything that costed more than $100 seemed a bit more out of reach even though I knew I could add a little money and have it.
However, everything that was under that $100 mark seemed easily within my grasp because the proof that I could buy it was staring me in the face.
When I added another fifty dollars to the cash on my desk, guess what happened? My perspective changed again, and so did my options.
This was interesting and it worked, so I decided to try it out on something less tangible.
I planned a nice relaxing Saturday afternoon that included a long soak in the tub, a book I had been wanting to read for weeks, and a whole lot of peace and quiet.
Needless to say, after two hours of that, I was very relaxed and in a good head space.
Then I went into the kitchen and cooked a very intricate and difficult meal I had been wanting to try for a long time. I'm not a natural chef, so under normal circumstances, this would have sent me right over the edge, and I would have made Gordon Ramsey sound like a choir boy.
However, because I had prepared myself ahead of time and purposefully created my mood, the meal turned out perfectly. I stayed relaxed all throughout the preparation, and everyone enjoyed themselves and the meal.
So what did I learn?
These were very controlled experiments and I won't always have an extra $100 bill lying around or two hours to kill on the weekend. However, I do always have control over my perspective.
When things start going sideways, I can take a minute to close my eyes, take a few deep breaths, and change my focus, and that can be enough to create a better outcome.
Things will look differently when I open my eyes and the problem won't carry the weight it did before. Even a slight improvement is worth the effort.
So no, it's not as easy as it is on the canvas. After all, I've got years of experience with relativity there. But something tells me that with some practice, I just might be able to create a few masterpieces off the canvas, too!
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