Dreaming Awake: Lessons from Matisse (#Quest2015)

This past weekend I went to see an exhibit of drawings by Matisse at the Mount Holyoke College Art Museum. What struck me most was how with a few strokes of the pen or charcoal, a master can evoke beauty, movement, and character.

I was mesmerized by these sketches. It was as if Matisse simply used the black line to note where space ended and form began. With a light, nearly invisible touch, he woke up the memory of a face, of the wisp of a veil floating before skin, of the touch of a bracelet on a woman’s wrist.

This is the work of a master artist. It is a map of mastery for me. A blueprint I can follow.

If I am the artist creating my life, my artwork is drawn these days, it seems, with a heavy hand. Layers of line and heavy brush strokes through pasty paint. Grit I have aplenty. Effort, yes, with an elephants step.

A compassionate approach would be to create my life the way Matisse creates those drawings. I dream of letting go of busy-ness – the internal kind – busy-ness of the mind – most of all.

Here’s my question as I look ahead to 2015: How can I draw my life and my life-work so that the creation of it echoes the felt sense I had in that gallery; the sense of ease, of joy, of minimal effort releasing the buoyant life energy that pulses beneath the surface.

How to manifest my best life? Just a line. Just a word. To call it forth.



For the month of December I’ll be dreaming into 2015 by participating in #Quest2015. Today’s prompt from Jen Louden was: “Grit without compassion is just grind. What would be most fun to create this year? How can self-compassionate grit support you in that creating?”


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3 responses to “Dreaming Awake: Lessons from Matisse (#Quest2015)

  1. jeffreydavis108

    Here is to more dreaming. I love what you observe so vulnerably about drawing your life with less heavy lines and less internal buzz-iness.

  2. Beautiful musings and way to approach life as art making!

    Here`s one line I love of Matisses, his cure-all for all!:
    “Draw branches! ” xo♡

  3. Pingback: Dreaming Awake: The Art of Curating (#Quest2015) | All the Snooze That's Fit to Print

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