Yesterday, I set out to paint a small abstract as a loosening up exercise. The aim was to let go of anything representational but within minutes of starting I began to see a landscape emerge – trees, a shoreline, however vague and probably not what someone else would have seen at all. At this point I started to follow the direction I thought the painting was leading me, believing it was supposed to be this way. As a result, I forced the image to materialise into something vaguely resembling an alpine lake landscape and in so doing, deprived it of it’s true potential as an abstract painting.
We are surrounded by a world full of names, categories, labels, titles and tags. We love to name – it helps us to locate, formulate and store information. It helps us to feel in control of an increasingly complex environment. We have become so adept at this method of ordering, that we do it unconsciously, habitually and whilst it is of great assistance in a technical world it can have the opposite effect when used in situations which need to evolve naturally.
Naming of a person or situation leads to unrealistic expectations – whole scenarios can be played out in our minds which bear little resemblance to reality. We become disillusioned, angry and blame others for not fulfilling our dreams. We can never know early on in our work, friendship or relationship what kind of experience we will have together. If we name a romance too early we demand reciprocation, we force a reward – like fruit grown out of season it lacks longevity – we deny the relationship the chance to flourish and bear fruit as a natural progression.
By naming too soon we close off possibilities of something finding it’s own level, we reject it’s true potential, it’s own representation and deny ourselves of the gift it may have to offer. If we can be brave enough to let go of the confining boundaries of naming, then by so doing just maybe we will experiencing something beautiful.