Tonight was a mindblower. If you read this site on a regular basis, you know that I've disagreed with Bella frequently in the comments section, and one of those lines of disagreement was over my cold, hard Rules of Life. "Meanie" was a term that she called me. But Bella knows me personally as a warm person. From where did this cold front originate? I once asked her the question, "Do you think my web site represents me?" and her response was "No." To know beatcanvas.com is not to know Brett. It's a side of me, to be sure, but not an accurate picture of me.
It was about five years back that I wrote up the Rules of Life list. It covers a lot of ground, everything from personal responsibility to business success to parenting and so on. The goal was to find axioms that, when applied, are universally true. It searched for principles and mathematical accuracy.
I went through that list with Tamara tonight, who was very honest with me. In reading the rules, some are spot on and I wouldn't change a thing, but others are simply wrong. In fact, after reading it, I came away realizing that I didn't recognize the person who wrote that. For some of these, I'd side with Bella on the accusation of "Meanie."
When I first separated from Jamie in 1992, I decorated my apartment in black and white. Later, when I got the divorce, I went to Wal-Mart with my daughter, Bari, and bought green plates and glasses. I remember thinking how beautiful those looked against my memory of the white ceramic plates with the black pinstripe border.
And I remember going back about a year later and buying a white plate with blue, yellow, and green flowered edges.
I've slowly introduced color into my life.
Interesting to me, if I fast-forward, is that I no longer use black in my paintings. What you see as black is either a dark green, dark purple, or a mixture of green, red, and blue. Or a complimentary color brown. But black, as a color, is never part of my palette any more.
What's more, being an artist now, I know that red isn't just red. It depends on the context. Red against blue is not the same as red against yellow, for example. It might have started out from the tube as the same color of red, but juxtaposed against a different backdrop of colors, it will appear differently. Check this out:
Notice how the red is lighter on the right than on the left. But it's the same red. (See this site for more fun with color illusions...)
Or how about this:
Yellow isn't just yellow any more. It's changed by what's behind it.
I'm reading Tipping Point, and it's getting into the importance of context in understanding epidemics. I'm noticing some synchronicity here. My vision is not large enough. I'm missing the context. Life is not formulaic. And so I look back on all the black and white decisions and conclusions I've determined and all of it is suddenly suspect.
I need to rethink and rewrite the list because I no longer draw in pencil - I now paint with colors. And I wonder: are there really any Rules of Life? I think color and context change everything.
I'm suddenly reminded of someone's quote: "I'm not young enough to know everything."
This one comes to mind too: "Knowing is the enemy of learning."
I get that. I feel remarkably naive. I'm glad for that.