As an art student, I concentrated on rendering what I saw before me. Making life-like work was my goal, a classic measure of talent, it demanded all my attention.
But however well I learned to render, the inner breath of life rarely moved me to fall in love with my art and have it come alive. I could strive for technique, but without finding the inner vision, the art lacked passion.
I wondered, “How do I see beyond or inside?” This seemed frustrating and unbridgeable. I couldn’t do it.
I heard Leonardo say, “Look at walls splashed with a number of stains…there you can see lively postures of strange figures, expressions on faces, costumes, an infinite number of things.”
I scoffed, “But who are they and why?”
But who was I asking? I was still looking for approval that Leonardo never needed.
At a point long after my “training” was complete, and after many life crises in which I focused much too heavily on myself, I finally noticed and appreciated the lives of others.
I discovered that our lives themselves were Leonardo’s mysterious stains. Then the joy of discovery began. I started to excavate many inner visions. I scratch them out of the layers built up behind and before me.