Identify Your Individuality: The Best You Can Be

Caravaggio: Identify His Strengths

I had Michelangelo da Caravaggio looking over my shoulder recently. During our visit to Scotland, we had a chance to view the Beyond Caravaggio exhibit at the Scottish National Gallery in Edinburgh. The collection of paintings identifies artists that were influenced by his use of light and shadow. That’s him behind me from the amazing “The Taking of Christ”. Art historians celebrate and identify Caravaggio for his groundbreaking use of shadow to create depth and an amazing sense of realism. However, I find an immediacy in his tableaus which makes the viewer feel as if they are in the room. The positioning of the persona and their flow outward from the center is a fabulous tool which engages the onlooker. Some artists that copied him took things a bit too far. A painting of Christ by Giacomo Galli is very direct and becomes theatrical or, as one young artist described, “cheeky”. It shows Jesus displaying the sword wound and looking outward as if to say, “See? Told you so”.

The Scottish Galleries are wonderful and free to the public. I was impressed by the amount of creativity throughout Edinburgh in the visual, musical, and theatrical arts we experienced. There was a pulse of an artistic energy everywhere.

Capturing the Creative Energy

This feeling reminded me of my recent efforts made to help my sons identify some of their individual strengths. Both of the twins are naturally artistic, which is not surprising to Kathy and me. By helping them understand their abilities, I was hoping to provide them with a sense of identity, purpose, and accomplishment. Much like having a child who is very tall and athletic try out for the basketball team.

Different Kinds of Gifts

This summer the boys had one of their best friends over for video game night. This friend has become very athletic. He loves my kids, but I am not sure he sees how they have changed over the years since kindergarten. He asks me, “Mr. Harris, do you think the boys will be going out for competitive sports this year?” A little surprised, I say, “Not that I know of.” He seems satisfied with that. But as I think about it, I realize that maybe he doesn’t understand that my kids are into the creative arts. So I have them all come to the piano and ask Kingsley to play one of his classical pieces. It’s a furious song called “The Tempest”. The friend is impressed and says, “ Kingsley is a good musician.” Then I show him some drawings that Julian had recently done. They are hybrid creatures he created from animate and inanimate species. I ask him what he thinks. “Oh, yeah, Julian is a great artist.”

A Teenager’s One Track Mind

First, I explain to him that the twins are creative and over the years they have directed their energy toward those kinds of activities. Well, I think he gets it. Then I tell him that I don’t think they would be going out for competitive sports, not that they have anything against them. And I also tell him that it’s important to identify one’s own talents and strive to become the best person one can be. He grins and nods. I think I have demonstrated some clear differences in all three of the boys’ abilities and desires. He turns, walks away, but then comes back and asks, “Mr. Harris, do you think the boys would be interested in going to meet my trainer for a workout session?”

No, but I tell him to go ahead and ask them.

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