Make Your Life Your Masterpiece

Joan Kerrigan | Make Your Life Your MasterpieceYou are unique. Every single person reading this is one of a kind, forever. We’ve all heard that a thousand times, but have you ever really thought about what it means? It’s an amazing revelation to know that there will never be another individual just like you. That means that you have a huge responsibility to be the best you that you can be. In other words, a masterpiece, a work of art. I’d like to share some thoughts about how you can make your life the unique masterpiece that it’s meant to be.

Think of your life as a canvas. It’s fairly easy for me to make this leap since I’ve been involved in some form of art my whole life. I’m a trainer now, but I’m an artist as well. From quilting, to drawing and painting, to making digital art, I’ve been creating since I was a child. No masterpieces, mind you. I’m not that good. But I do like to consider my life to be my masterpiece. It may be the only masterpiece I’m ever going to create, so I’m going to make it the best I can.

Joan Kerrigan | Cherry Tree

Cherry Tree

Everything you do, think, and dream leaves a mark on your canvas. You just need to learn how to apply the principles to make your canvas a masterpiece. All successful artworks follow certain principles of design. These principles are perfect for creating your own life masterpiece too. The six I’m going to focus on are balance, contrast, pattern, rhythm, variety, and unity.

The first principle is balance. A great work of art is in balance. That doesn’t mean it’s always symmetrical or evenly balanced. Sometimes the painting is asymmetrical in design. That can work too. We’ve all heard about how we should maintain a good work/life balance. But balance is important in everything. Balanced diet, balanced budgets, balanced reactions. Even physical balance is important. You don’t want to fall. Life’s details and issues aren’t always in balance. Sometimes one issue needs to take precedence in the short term, but when you keep the overall painting in mind, it’s easier to handle the temporary imbalances that you inevitably find yourself facing.

Abstract spiral flower in vivid colors.

Nature’s Palette

Contrast is sometimes difficult, sometimes scary. Dark days happen to everyone. And amazingly bright days happen. When compared to the dark days, the happy days are that much more incredibly bright and vivid. The dark areas of a painting make the bright areas pop. My father-in-law passed away last year, which was very difficult for the family. There were and still are sad days as we all live each season without him. The “Circle of Life” can be a real bummer. But because of his passing, I’ve seen my husband interact with his sisters more than ever, and last summer, we had a fun family reunion, with everyone in attendance, a bright highlight standing out in the darkness. Learning to accept the shadows and celebrate the sunshine will create depth in your painting. You’ll be surprised at how much richer, and more meaningful your life will be because of both.

Patterns of all kinds bring interest and texture into a successful artwork and life masterpiece. Your patterns are your habits, your unique way of doing things, your style. Your patterns or habits create a rich texture to life that overlays everything you do. My husband has a habit of bursting into song at any random given moment. And not just singing, he bellows at the top of his lungs. Yes, it drives me crazy sometimes, but I miss it when he’s traveling. It’s become a pattern in our home, one of the crazy textures that keeps life interesting. And he shakes his head over my growing collection of exercise equipment that threatens to take over the house, but that’s one of my habits. Enjoy your way of doing things, and sometimes, try a different way. You may find a new pattern to be fun and you can add it to your palette.

Joan Kerrigan | Dog in a Mirror

Dog in a Mirror

Paintings use rhythm to direct our attention and provide a pleasing flow through the image. Rhythm is a great way to describe life in general. Our lives flow from event to event, season to season, and year to year. We change and grow and the rhythm of our lives changes too. It was a shock when we had children and our comfortable and easy lifestyle changed immediately. It was also a shock when they grew up and moved out. Enjoy the rhythm of your life because before you know it, everything will change. Your masterpiece will evolve, so while your days seem steady and predictable in the short term, just wait and life will change it up for you.

Variety, the fifth principle makes your masterpiece and your life exciting and unpredictable. If everything stayed the same, how would you grow? Deliberately adding splashes of new colors to your painting makes your masterpiece vibrate with joy. And adding new experiences, humor, and creativity to your life gives you confidence and the knowledge that you won’t regret not doing them later. I think everyone can benefit from trying something new every so often. Over the past few years I’ve tried rock climbing, paddle boarding, photography, writing, public speaking, jiu jitsu, and just about anything that strikes my interest. Variety has added such a richness to my life that I’m never bored.

Illustration of spiral nautilus in bright rainbow colors

Rainbow Spiral

The final principle is unity, bringing it all together. Your purpose, your values, and your beliefs provide unity. In isolation, all the other elements of your painting won’t make much sense. But when carefully blended and arranged, according to your higher calling, the resulting masterpiece of your life is brilliant and unique, like a great painting, like each of you. Never stop developing your own masterpiece of unique characteristics and gifts. You are the only you that the world will ever know. Be a great you and enjoy creating and sharing your masterpiece.

Joan Kerrigan | Irises


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2 Responses to Make Your Life Your Masterpiece

  1. Sue Vincent says:

    A lovely article, Joan… and an analogy I too am fond of. We are, after all, the only artist who can paint ‘our’ life.

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