I drove out of Boston yesterday to catch the last traces of the brilliant display of red, purple, orange, and yellow in the last stages of the New England “leaf peeping” season. The autumn transformation period is never the same, always dependent on a variety of conditions. The countless combinations of temperature, moisture, and soil conditions, which vary greatly from year to year, assure that no two autumns can be exactly alike.
The colors and textures and beauty of the fall made me think of the process artists use to express themselves through their artwork. They reach deep and indulge their inner selves as they appreciate the flow of the artistic process. They are creative and playful with the elements of their art form, learning from them and allowing them to transform their world with new knowledge and understanding. The journey of an artist is very much like the process the leaves go through in autumn. Just as the leaves gradually change color, the transformation of the artist is hardly noticeable every day, but if you look at where they started and where they finish, it can be dramatic.
As lifelong learners, artists continually change. They are solid in their knowledge and technique, but they also understand that they continue to grow with every new experience. Artists know the only thing that’s certain is that everything changes. The propensity to be a lifelong learner is important for each of us to consider. The arts can teach us to learn and enjoy a lifelong journey of renewal while continually contributing to the world. Through a deep understanding of the artistic process, we can all develop the desire to learn.
Nature often holds up a mirror so we can see more clearly the ongoing processes of growth, renewal, and transformation in our lives.
~ Mary Ann Brussat
If we are to advance in life, we need to reach deep within and appreciate the impermanence of things in our lives. We can experience personal transformation when we are willing to step out of our comfort zones, explore new things, and expand our understanding of the world around us. That’s part of the artistic process and it’s actually built-in organically to the way nature works.
We delight in the beauty of the butterfly but rarely admit the changes it has gone through to achieve that beauty.
~ Maya Angelou
The world of an artist is filled with constant change. They build momentum, moving forward to evolve and carve out a path that grows and progresses over time. Nothing stays the same. Those who resist and are unwilling to change quickly find themselves left behind. We can all experience personal growth that benefits everything in our lives if we are willing to engage with the artistic process.
As it turns out, the leaves were nearly completely transformed on the majority of trees. But the colors were still magnificent. It wasn’t really about a quantity of foliage color; it was about the quality. We connect with the world, making sense of our personal experiences, and my own unique aesthetic response was one I chose. The experience for me was one of appreciation for the magnificent way nature transforms itself and displays its spectacular beauty for all of us to discover, to learn from, and to value.
Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.
~ Albert Camus