Someone recently shared 30 questions with me, designed to help you focus on what is important to you. Question 21 stayed with me long after I closed my journal, as it seemed to me to be about how to love your life. I wrote the answer quickly, without censoring myself, and then kept returning to the question — I’ve not found any way to improve on that first answer, so I’ve decided to share it here with you.
Question 21: If you were to leave the world today – what is the manifesto you would leave behind?
Be kind. Be curious. Use your imagination and intuition as much as your intellect. Travel, meet people, taste new things, listen to new music, read new authors. Do more of the things that make you smile. Share the joy and the sorrow and know that both are ephemeral.
When I asked the people I’ve created Personal Icons for if they would share how they feel about their very personal piece of art, I was hoping to get a few nice quotes . . . I was absolutely unprepared for the depth of their responses.
1. Metaphors galore delight my heart and soul!
2. My icon is my own. It is the embodiment of many of the things that make me…me. When I look up from my desk and see it, another image of my past comes up and reminds me that I am more than the given moment dictates.
3. It was created from pure intuition, where Ego had no place
4. Excellent focal point for meditation
5. I keep my icon in my office–it is not something I choose to share–it’s too personal, and honestly it reminds me that there are still parts of me that are a mystery to my husband, child and extended family/friends.
6. It lights up my life each time I look at it – a reminder of all that I am, all that I could be
7. I love my icon because it is a beautiful representation of me, that Paula made come to life on canvas.
- connecting with my subject - interviewing the person I’m making the Icon for only takes about 15-20 minutes, I can do it by phone, Skype or email and it so much fun to hear the excitement and start to understand what the artwork will be about.
- doing the research - there are always some elements that I need to research, to understand more fully and to discover how those things will fit together visually with other elements; I love the excuse to be really curious and explore.
- playing with a variety of styles – Personal Icons come in infinite flavors, depending on the likes of the subject. This means I get to play with interpreting the essence of many styles as I create for different people.
- mixing media - my favorite way to work, and the nature of Personal Icons invites this creative experimentation.
- when the elements start to come together - as I’m designing the piece in my sketchbook, there is always a tipping point when 3 or more elements ‘find’ each other and create a synergy that breathes life into the idea as a whole entity.
- watching the piece take on a life of its own - as I translate the sketches onto the canvas, things shift and morph as the Personal Icon starts to truly embody the energy of the subject. This is where the magic happens.
- discovering the over-arching metaphor - as the Personal Icon takes form, more connections become clear and shine a light on the finishing touches that will make the whole thing glow with the essence of the subject
- sharing sneak peeks - all during the process of creating I’m taking photos. Sometimes I’ll send a close up of a portion I think is especially exciting. As the Icon starts to near completion I create a short Animoto video from the best of those photos and send it to the subject.
- sending it off - to be totally honest I both love and dread this part. I’ve already shared the finished artwork digitally, but seeing it in person is a different experience. I always feel I’m holding my breath until it arrives!
- knowing it is loved - getting emails, cards and phone calls from people who adore the results is a superb end to any project.