Paint the Canvas, my Son!

© J. Francois Barnard – January 2020

The year is 2020, and the month is January. Ahead of you lies the blank canvas of your life. For the last 22 years, you, your mother and I have been preparing you to make those first strokes of the brush. It is with great anticipation that we look at what you and your Heavenly Father plan to paint!

The above may seem to relay so much pressure on you, but this is not it. The pressure is off. Gone are the days of assignments, tests, and exams. The fun is about to begin!

life14Art scholars will tell you that you can make your rough sketches in pencil before you pick up the brush. We have worked with you through a few sketches you made, and, as always, your creativity amazed us. Now, in the beginning, you can start painting the background. Those foundations you need to build your Masterpiece. If you do not get it right the first time, paint over it and do it again until you are satisfied.

The untrained hand might be a bit shaky at first, but you have a lot of time ahead of you to develop skills and techniques. Do not be afraid of making a mess. You can always paint over it.

What you are creating is an original work of art. Not comparable to anybody else’s work. Others may inspire you, but you are still painting your own canvas with the skills you now have.


Thirty-something years ago we learned that you study through school and university to prepare yourself for a job. And no, do not change jobs too often. You will be branded as a “job-hopper.” A long, and hopefully, a fulfilling career will end up in a golden watch and a pension. Then you buy a motorhome and follow the sun like a swallow. Until the swallow cannot fly anymore and dies.


I would posit that one should rather follow your skill development towards what you enjoy doing the most – whatever that may be – and change jobs or start businesses as often as your fun-o-meter requires you to do. While doing so, your character will develop, giving you more skills to work on your Masterpiece.

Be flexible and robust at the same time:

    • be a lifelong learner
    • work your entire life
    • play your entire life

Paul Donders – from Creative Life Planning

Repositioning yourself from time to time might seem like you create uncertainty in your life. When I started my IT-business in the 1990s, someone said to me: “Get comfortable in your uncertainty!” Uncertainty is not bad. It stimulates creative thinking. Most of the time, the expected happens. But at times, something unexpected surprises you. It is for you to choose how to react to pleasant AND unpleasant surprises.

A lot of value lies in allowing others to rub off on you, and you rubbing off on others. Therefore, keep the right company! Those who rub off on you should be truly inspiring individuals. You might not notice it at first, but others will soon look up at you for inspiration. What you give them, unintentionally may be, will become part of your legacy and the Masterpiece you are working on.

On the canvas of life, every sweep of the brush matters; counts for something…

Scott Hastie – Scottish Poet

So, with all the love and energy I can muster, I say: “Paint the Canvas, my Son!”