There are two directions one can take when he sets out to make a picture. 1: he can compose something nice looking. As one would arrange oneself in front of the mirror, to appear acceptable, nice, etc. to the world, an image he would like to present. A person who does this is courting spiritual death. Not enough that he behaves like this in general, trying to present an image of himself to the world. (though it is proper to “compose” oneself to meet life, nevertheless the composition must be according to his inner self, his intelligence, and not an exterior image. We must promulgate truth and not falsehood; our internality is connected to the truth , to Hashem, and our externality will automatically reflect our holy innerness, if we are connected to it. But to compose ourselves according to the image that appears in the mirror this is to promulgate falsehood which is the illusion of this world) But he further sets it down on canvas for posterity[?!] To fix it in front of the world saying: behold! Me! Examine it! All the more so if becomes trained in the arts and uses his talents to develop in this direction. He is burying himself with each brushstroke.
The second way is that one realizes that what comes out of his hand on the canvas is an expression of his true inner picture. He needs to learn how to react to what he sees in front of him, some level of its meaning. He must, in general, be involved in a search to know his true self and truth in general. Then he can use painting to see in a vibrant way to picture what is inside himself. And if he pursues in the process of his painting truth and parallels with this a relentless search for self-and general truth, he will bear, be’ezrat Hashem, Yitborach, fruit in his work.
Holy Books. pencil on paper
image at top of the article:
ובטובו הגדול תמיד לא חסר לנו ואל יחסר לנו מזון לעולם ועד
And through His great goodness, we have never lacked, and may we never lack, nourishment, for all eternity
(from the After-Blessing over Eating)
Oil on canvas
ציור שמן על קנבס
45 cm. x 60 cm.
image at the bottom of the article:
pencil on paper 29.7 cm. x 42 cm.
ותפשפש במעשיך בערב ובבוקר ועל ידי זה יהיו כל ימיך בתשובה
(מאגרת הרמב”ן, ז”ל)