The Fifth Element

For painter Pat Merriman, the Fifth Element is a signal of the soul speaking. “It seems to come at the beginnings – like a blank canvas or a fresh sheet of paper; or during transitions of anxiety about which path to take – like shape versus color decisions. And finally, perhaps, when an artist knows a piece is finished. Maybe it is also the “Aha” moment that mindfully moves me, the artist, on a new path.”

Her reading led Merriman to the philosophy of ancient Chinese poet and philosopher Lao-Tzu, who wrote: “Accept what is in front of you without wanting the situation to be other than it is. Study the natural order of things and work with it rather than against it, for to try to change what is only sets up resistance…. If we watch carefully, we will see that work proceeds more quickly and easily if we stop “trying,” if we stop putting in so much extra effort, if we stop looking for results. In the clarity of a still and open mind, truth will be reflected. …In other words: Simply be.”

Says Merriman “Often when painting, I get lost in time – in the zone – which is the process of painting without inner criticism. On the following day comes the critique, though often it is minor: redrawing some lines, heightening some color splashes, accenting or softening edges. When, on day one or two, I play with colors and shapes, I am in the Fifth Element.”

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