OK. So, probably much to my shame, I glanced at one of those stupid Facebook games. It was one of those grids filled with apparently random letters and the instruction was ‘the first three words you see will be your mantra for 2021’. Highly scientific and well-reasoned, OF COURSE!!!!! Nevertheless, I stumbled in to see what would pop up.
The first word I saw was POWER. I reckon they rig it so everyone sees that one. The third word was GRATITUDE. Valuable. It was the second word, however, that triggered my thoughts. It was PURPOSE.
Over the years, I have been to a couple of workshops with Melbourne painter Robert Knight. At one of these, he instructed that we should never apply a brush stroke unless we knew what it was going to do, how it would affect the whole. There was a deliberateness to his approach rather than just a flailing about. Effectively, he was mandating we paint with forethought and purpose.
This skill – of knowing how an application of paint is going to contribute to the work before it hits the canvas – is obviously one honed over decades of practice. In addition, I can’t quite apply it to all artistic practice and all media. It does, however, call us to work intelligently and with consideration. It calls us to create with purpose.
There are so many ways to slide from purpose in art to purpose in life. I don’t need to spell it out for you, or for myself. It is sufficient that we are reminded that PURPOSE is a thing, a deliberate act, a choice. And who knows? Perhaps it will even succeed in squeezing its way into some sort of resolution, or goal, for the year. Ha! Dare I say, Facebook wins again!