Pentimento

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Getting home late from traveling all day on Saturday, I decided to give in to my need for rest on Sunday instead of going to church. I did manage to get my coffee  in time to watch Sunday Morning on CBS. A weekly magazine program, it always has some interesting articles. At the end of this week’s program Faith Salie talked about how art can help us make our yearly resolutions. She showed a picture of a drawing by Henri Matisse. There were distinct scribbles on the drawing that had not been erased, but rather, drawn over. The “ghosts of his mistakes” were left for us to see. It is called “Pentimento” from the Italian word “pentirsi” which means “repent” – to regret, to change your mind. It feels like Matisse left these distinct marks to show us the imperfections that are a part of  created art. Showing our false starts and changes in direction (like in the picture of the word “pentimento” above) isn’t easy.  But what if those “scribbles” are an important part of art; and, even an important part of life?

The other art technique that Salie talked about is Kintsugi. This Japanese technique takes broken ceramics and other objects to a new level of beauty. Believing that flaws are a part of the unique history of an object, those flaws are treated with respect and repaired with gold. The repair leaves a lovely golden trail that traces the path of the flaw. What if we treated our “broken places” with this kind of respect?

How might these two artistic concepts inform how we want to re – solution the year ahead. Resolutions are so much about dealing with our shortcomings – those places where we are broken or cracked. Towards the end of her article, Salie makes this suggestion: “…We’ll never be perfect, so perhaps our re-solutions can involve being humble enough to shed light on our cracks — and brave enough to repair them visibly.”

I hope I can live this year mindfully. To be mindful of the “cracks” and “scribbly false starts” in my own life, might help me make fewer assumptions about other people. And hopefully it will allow me to be more gentle with my own “cracked nature.” Who knows I might even attempt some kintsugi on some of those cracks!

 

 

 

Note: Quotes taken from www.CBSnews.com/SundayMorning/


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