Friday, July 22, 2016

Welcome to my semi-hopefully-not-too-regular-regular series, Coffee Break Blog. These are posts that I write during my coffee break, to be enjoyed during yours! Read on for a quick pick-me-up, and have a lovely day!

Happy Friday!

The Denver Art Museum recently opened an exhibition featuring the amazing works of several abstract expressionist painters: ALL WOMEN (can I get a #HELLYES #FINALLY). I genuinely love this exhibition, have seen it multiple times, and have the catalogue, postcards, and pins featuring my favorite paintings and artists. On the walls of the exhibition, there are quotes about art and painting from the artists featured, artists like Perle Fine, Joan Mitchell, Lee Krasner, that give visitors a glimpse into the mind and the passion of the artists. But this isn't a post about how much I love the exhibition (although I certainly could write one... or a hundred). 

This post is about the quote from Helen Frankenthaler, featured on the wall: 

"One of the first rules is no rules." 

I love rules. Having structure, guidelines, and rules that make sense. I feel like things run smoother, more efficient, when there are rules in place. Throughout school, I was great at obeying the rules (when they made sense). Adhering to a structure is comforting for me, someone who has the attention span of a gnat, and who likes to do 50 things at once.  Flash forward to graduation, and even though I had followed the rules I set for myself, I was not following the path I had set out for myself. In fact, I had decided to take a very different and slightly unexpected path: Moving to France. 

I had always thought that there were certain rules I had to follow in order to achieve an arbitrary level of success that I had determined when I was in high school. My mom has often chided me, asking where I had found these rules and reminding me that no one has imposed the rules I seemed to live my life by but myself. Reading Helen Frankenthaler's quote on the wall in the museum, it made sense to me. There are no rules. I don't have to do what I felt like others expected of me, what I thought the trajectory was supposed to be like. There are no rules for achieving success. You just have to do what makes you happy, be kind to other people, and live a good life. There are no rules. It's scary, and at times uncomfortable. But it's so freeing. 

Just like painting was an act of freedom for Judith Godwin, so is living life without the constraints I placed on myself.

The first rule of not just painting, but of building a life? There are no rules.

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