Before art comes listening.
More important than the ability to draw or paint, is the ability to listen, and to share. What comes before the painting, before the artwork, is the listening, the considering, the feeling and finally, the sharing. For this reason, I believe it is more important to be able to share well a cup of coffee with a friend, than to paint a painting. For, without the former, the latter will be hard to come by.
Much of my time in the studio is spent listening to my paintings. Listening to what they have to say, listening to what I feel and what I want to convey. Listening, of course, in the sense of feeling. Feeling on many levels and many aspects of my being.
At times listening may help me to feel what it is a painting is trying to say, perhaps something that has come up from me unconsciously, and I can only try to follow and bring to light. This can help me to find, and then express something that came from within myself, something I did not even know was there.
Other times, listening can help me feel if my painting is conveying what it is I feel, what I am looking to share. And by listening, I can find out how to better convey that.
The art of listening is not an easy one. It does not require one to be able to draw or paint to be adept at it. It does however, require patience, empathy and caring.