I enjoyed stopping by for a few minutes to watch this lady paint before I asked permission to take a picture.
The real plant was in front of her as she looked out over Kirstenbosch.
Tin box with her colour palette in her left hand. Paintbrush in her right hand. Water on the ground. What started off as a blank page on her lap.
And her mind was transforming reality into an image of reality. And the image itself was also real – the artist’s impression of the world around her as she experienced and interpreted it.
I was intrigued to see her dip the brush in the water, pick a colour from the palette, and then another, and another, testing the mix in the lid of the palette box until she was happy. And only then she put brush to paper.
I looked at the plant she was painting. To me, it looked different from what she was painting. I am sure that, if I had her talent for painting, my representation of reality would have been different.
Not better. Not worse. Just different.
Later in the day, someone tapped me on the shoulder, saying “Good day Mr Vosloo! Long time no see…” Yes, it was indeed a long time because I have never seen the guy before (his name turned out to be André) and I am not Ton Vosloo. I have been mistaken for him (on the right) before, so now I am wondering about representations of reality. Are we maybe different paintings of someone else in reality?
And I thought about how our behaviour flows from the stories we tell ourselves about what we see – and not from what’s real. André saw Gerrit and told himself he was seeing Ton. In that moment Gerrit became Ton for him and he behaved based on what was real to him.
Other people treat us not based on who we really are but on what they tell themselves about us.
And we treat other people based on the stories we tell ourselves about them.
And we continue doing that until we are told, “I am not who and what you think I am.”
What if we had the courage to be sincere about who we are, and take time to understand other people and who they really are?
How different could life be if we all got real?
Enjoy a real week!
Quote from the book “Let’s Get Real or Let’s Not Play”: Getting “real”: This is a subjective term … being authentic, being truthful, saying what we mean, being congruent with what we value. Getting real involves challenging lazy thinking and penetrating façades, games, defenses, fears, and illusions. We open belief systems to examination. We get to the heart of the matter.”