Indeed, your life IS your canvas. Aren’t we what we do for our artwork? Artwork is a visual chronical of what is going on in your life, your family, your dreams and hopes, and even what is going on in the world around you.
Art is a wonderful record of social and world events. So much of the art work in history has recorded wars, trends, social status. Also, in the work you will see a reflection of the dress and styles of the time. So, unless the artist is painting history the story there will be about what the artist sees on a daily basis, what he/she is exposed to.
A good example of this would be the cave art that is thousands, sometimes millions of years old. This was a recording of their time. Even though there was no written language per se, the depictions of the animal and graphic expressions tell us a lot about those cultures. In fact, now there is a big push to analyze the graphic marks left. The graphic marks outnumber the animal depictions four to one so no doubt these had some very important meanings. Though we will probably never know what those marks truly mean, we can look at patterns and track locations of similar if not identical patterns over place and time. This kind of information gives us data on migration of different groups of people.
Just as DNA is valuable to identify and track different species so is the artwork. The placement of the art work, material it is made from, how it is applied and drawn, location and density of the work. So much can be learned. Aside from fossil evidence this is the only remaining indicator of how these people lived, who they were, and where they lived and migrated to.
In prehistoric days there was no sense of social structure but most of these people lived in small family groups. The reason being there were not a lot of them with the population scattered and in small bands. How do scientists make these conclusions? Fossil evidence and the story that is told from the bones.
It is well known that as far back as the Neandertal species there was a reverence for the dead with evidence pointing to burying their dead instead of just leaving them lie, and putting items of importance in with the body, flowers, small but important contributions. They also adorned themselves from what we can tell with the evidence of rocks and shells with small holes for stringing.
So much can be learned from these assemblances of artifacts and the stories the cave art drawings portray. It is known the art in the caves was used over and over because the drawings are layered. So, whatever the purpose for the drawings, they were important to these people and their apparently only visual communication system.
Next time you plan a painting or sculpture, think about your motif to see if it reflects some sort of connection to your life. Perhaps 30,000 years from now people will look at your pottery and wonder what story of your daily life that represented.