Improving in Artistic Creation
(Clearwisdom.net) Greetings Teacher! Greetings fellow practitioners! I would like to share my cultivation experiences. I have been continuously purifying and improving myself while creating fine art over the last several years of my Fa-rectification cultivation.
After I read Teacher's words in Teaching the Fa at the Discussion on Creating Fine Art in 2003, I realized the importance of creating fine art: it not only affects human morality, but it is also extremely important for the cultivators, because the cultivators must first of all abandon every kind of notion.
"How was the cosmos created? It was created just by a Great Fa Enlightened Being's one thought. (Applause) The single thoughts of the Great Enlightened Beings at different levels created cosmoses at different levels. ("Teaching the Fa at the 2002 Fa Conference in Philadelphia, U.S.A.")
If a Falun Dafa practitioner's one thought after achieving the cultivation fruit status is not pure or contains warped notions, wouldn't the cosmos, the celestial body, and everything created all contain warped elements? Clothing design, packaging, architectural designs, fashion, hair styles and so on in our lives are infiltrated with modern society's warped notions, which unconsciously contaminate us at different levels. Therefore, I think this paragraph of the Fa is not only aiming at practitioners with artistic talents, but also at all Falun Dafa practitioners.
1) Root Out Warped Notions, Purify Oneself
"People's notions change along with their thinking. If a person's righteous thoughts aren't in charge and he relies entirely on the perceptions and feelings at his human surface instead of his true thoughts, and he doesn't truly think things over clearheadedly on his own, then it will be as if he doesn't have a soul anymore. The human consciousness is formed postnatally at the human surface, and it only manifests as a subconscious reaction to things. Consciousness is unstable, it can change anytime, and it changes along with the changes in external conditions and the overall situation in society. If someone completely relies on these things, he doesn't have his own thoughts. In addition, his thoughts are unsystematic, erratic, and he has no upright thoughts and no true self. The things fashioned in this state of mind are the so-called 'modern arts' or 'contemporary works of fine art.'" ("Teaching the Fa at the Discussion on Creating Fine Art")
The current field of art is full of notions from the modernist school. There have been times when I was surprised to find that modern art comprised over 900f all of the pieces in one display of fine arts. The main idea of modernist work is to indulge human notions and sensibilities, focus on superficial feelings and stimulation, not comply with the objective things, and to oppose the traditional way of doing things.
Some of my drawings used the Impressionist style. Looking back, I see that when I did those drawings, I was mindless; I pursued personal feelings of color, but ignored the real essence of expressing things. Sometimes, it was difficult for others to understand such paintings.
After reading Teacher's lecture, I awakened as if from a dream, and began to think about legitimate creation techniques. I realized that upright and traditional artwork must first have a clear topic, and then rationally designed items and scenes in the picture. The picture should conform to the things that people really see.
Teacher told us
"You should be a good person wherever you are. So in the field of the arts you should be a good person as well, and in your artwork you should display what's beautiful, what's upright, what's pure, what's good, and what's bright and positive." ("Teaching the Fa at the Discussion on Creating Fine Art")
At that time, I found my modernist artworks, books, and picture albums that I had accumulated over the years, and destroyed them one by one. I realized that these kinds of books and pictures are like bad qigong books, the words and pictures possibly correspond to bad spirits and demons, because these pictures and books are produced by humans driven by their demon nature or by evil demons.
After I cleared away the bad physical entities, I began to send forth righteous thoughts to clean out the warped notions in my thoughts, eliminate the elements that use the warped substances to interfere with my cultivation, and to clear away the thought karma caused by my past incorrect thinking. I felt I was truly clear-headed, I truly understood the meaning and significance of fine art!
2) Rectify Oneself, Use Upright and Traditional Techniques to Create
I reviewed the history of art around the world. In China, the best paintings were made during the Tang, Song, and Yuan periods. Western art was at its peak in the 15th, 16th, and 17th centuries after the Renaissance. Reviewing ancient artworks gave me a deeper understanding of traditional painting. When talking about creating artworks of Gods Teacher said,
"After others look at that kind of artwork they'll benefit, they'll become broad-minded, they'll have good thoughts in their minds, and it will make their character nobler." ("Teaching the Fa at the Discussion on Creating Fine Art")
The upright and traditional works make people feel the righteous power, and project righteous thoughts. I wanted to make this kind of art. Only then did I discover why the basic skills of drawing were so important to creating art, and finally understood why I spent over ten years mastering the basic skills of drawing-Teacher had arranged for me to learn these well, and to use my skill to validate Dafa and save sentient beings during the Fa-rectification period!
Some practitioners told me a long time ago that I should be drawing, but I sometimes thought that art was only done to satisfy some art critic's leisurely and carefree mood. I didn't have time to study those ordinary things, and it would be better for me to hand out a few more flyers and clarify the truth to a few more people! With Teacher's hints again and again, I finally understood: To tell the truth and expose the evil through the medium of painting is the path I will take to validate the Fa. Teacher said,
"It's precisely to have you put to full use at this crucial time what you've learned among everyday people and are good at, to have you validate the Fa using the everyday people's skills Dafa created for people in this world." ("Teaching the Fa at the Washington, D.C. International Fa Conference")
Falun Dafa practitioners' skill-sets are not accidental. They are all needed for the Fa-rectification. I painfully regret that my enlightenment quality was so low, and I did not walk well on the cultivation path that Teacher arranged for me.
3) Expose the Evil and Clarify the Truth Using Art
"Some people say, 'I can save people directly by clarifying the truth to them. Today I convinced someone of the true situation through clarifying the facts. I feel so happy that this person has been saved.' Well, as far as the media goes, there too you will have a part in the role it plays saving sentient beings. Let's say that one hundred people are involved in this media work, then if the media saved one hundred people a day, one of them was definitely saved by you." ("Teaching the Fa in San Francisco, 2005")
If my creation is shown to the public, isn't this saving people too? I have the ability and qualifications; so I feel this is what I should do.
I began to create some art containing truth clarification. After practicing the basic skills for a time, I regained the confidence to pick up the paintbrush, and began to use art to expose the evil and to speak the truth.
"I think that taking those basic techniques as a foundation, and adding to them the true goodness, righteousness, and pure beauty that Dafa disciples have come to comprehend in their cultivation, [you] can display good things."
"In an artist's work, everything about that individual and about the person being portrayed is attached to that painting." ("Teaching the Fa at the Discussion on Creating Fine Art")
I realized that the individual cultivator's level will also affect the painting's power and strength. When you cultivate well, your work will be more upright. It will be of better quality, and will have more power.
When creating art, it is not enough to just have basic skills and painting techniques. Coming up with a design and concept are the most difficult. My biggest experience is to bind art creation with cultivation. For instance, when I created the work entitled "Jia," I was diligent in studying the Fa and practicing the exercises. I practiced the sitting meditation from 4: 50 a.m. to 5: 50 a.m. every morning. One day I woke up at 4: 20 a.m., and I did not feel tired, so I got up. Right then a complete idea for a painting came to me, and I immediately picked up a pen to sketch it. I didn't even need to repeatedly amend and refine the idea because a complete picture had unfolded in front of me. I looked at the time, and it was exactly 4: 50! Normally, I need several hours to sketch a picture, but this one only took me half an hour. I feel when I do well in studying the Fa, practicing the exercises, sending forth righteous thoughts, and in harmonizing family, society, and work, my work efficiency increases.
I went through a period where I encountered a lot of interference. I encountered troubles at home, with friends, and at work. As one fell, another rose; I thought it might be the evil in other dimensions attempting to persecute me because it saw the role I have in the Fa-rectification. I sent forth righteous thoughts more often to clear away evil elements that interfered with my Fa-rectification. However, interference still occurred time after time, lastly manifesting in my body as ceaseless coughing and spitting. I became a bit better after I intensified sending forth righteous thoughts, but later on I still coughed and wheezed. A fellow practitioner with supernormal capability told me that she saw the evil in another dimension gathered around me, and that after it was eliminated, more evil took its place in a constant stream that even formed a black pillar. During that time, she sent forth righteous thoughts for long time to help me eliminate the evil. It manifested in this dimension as evil using everyday people's ways to impede me. In the tribulations I could not find my attachments for a long time. Later, a fellow practitioner said I had the incorrect notion that evil will strongly persecute you when you do important things. I realized that this incorrect notion had reinforced evil interference and damage!
"A Dafa disciple completely opposes everything arranged by the evil old forces." ("Dafa is Indestructible")
I accepted that the evil would strongly persecute me; so wouldn't the evil come then? Because I did not get rid of my attachment, the evil seized the chance to persecute me. The big lesson made me realize that regardless of what we do, a Falun Dafa practitioner must look at oneself first during an ordeal, as any attachment can be an excuse used by the evil to persecute us. At the same time, we should not be reckless when it comes to security.
Cultivating while creating art, Teacher's merciful protection made me have stronger and stronger righteous thoughts in Dafa cultivation. I drew more and more pieces of art, saw the works continuously published and referenced on Dafa websites and websites that clarify the truth to everyday people. They are also used in truth-clarification materials. I think this is a new starting point, a path just started.
On the Fa-rectification cultivation path, I feel there are many themes for creation. Inspiration comes continuously and thoughts become more and more broad-minded. I feel this road will become wider and wider. Teacher and Dafa have unlocked my wisdom! Thank you Teacher for your merciful salvation. This disciple will be diligent for sure, and will walk well on the sacred road of validating Dafa!