Monthly Archives: March 2016

Transitions: Painting and Life

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Do you ever look at life – your own life and wish one thing could stay exactly as it is while longing to change one or more areas, again either of self or others or even situations.  I do.

In the above painting I really liked the sky and how the light shimmered over the hills and sandy beach.

However the sand was too dark and the rock cliff in the foreground not defined enough for my liking so I began to mess with it.  I wanted to get rid of all the green that injected itself into the sea.  It wasn’t there before and I wondered how I missed it – though I’d put it there.

 

I have a lot of life to look back on from where I am today, facing life as a senior and in the last five years much self reflection has taken place.  It puts me right at today.

When my house is clean, the sun is shining and all is well in my relationships I believe life just couldn’t get any better.  I live by the ocean and can soak up the sound of bubbling ripples  whenever I want.  My adult children live close enough to visit regularly.  I’m not working to earn a living any more – hubby is the one who goes off each day and will continue that for a few more years.  Much of time is my own – an enviable state for many people.

Yet on a dark and dismal day as the drops run down the window my tears sometimes match the flow. When a relationship conversation turns in a direction I didn’t anticipate I am left with a crumpled pile of emotions sitting in my lap and I can feel paralyzed.

I try to balance the dark days and bask in the light days – but sometimes I am simply not in control.  Then, I must look in, look out, seek help – let go.  Move forward.

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I lost some of the lightness in the sky and the plan is to find it again but it will  take work.

My cliffs are taking shape, the green sea is not so stormy any longer and the sand is slowly shifting to a softer glow. It is a work in progress.  Like me.  And, perhaps you.

 

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Lead so I can Follow

The two paintings below are the same one but they could be two separate ones.  On the left is like daytime and the other could be evening.  It is just what happened as I began laying down paint. They are also about one week apart.

Still on my Arizona holiday in the sunshine and enjoying the bright skies my mood may have been reflected in my work. (because of several wind storms and plenty of rain)

One picture is light, airy, pretty.  The other is dark, brooding, deep with a bit of light peeking through the clouds.

Perhaps I painted on one of those dreary days.

Perhaps it reflected my mood but I can’t really say – it simply became what it was.

Then, I didn’t paint for two months.

The Arizona holiday ended late November, the painting packed away and while not forgotten about, was put aside.

 

Then came January and the painting created something entirely different.  I had to go where it led.

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I’ve become curious about how much my environment, sunshine, rain, location and seasons of the year dictate my performance, energy, creativity and even the direction of my life.

It used to be that when I wrote, I wrote.  I didn’t paint.  When I painted, I painted. I didn’t write.  Now I have learned to do a little of both.  I’m discovering how to blend the two.

 

Though I loved my babies and enjoyed their development years I had times I believed nursing them was going to be my new normal – forever, or that they’d be toddlers for all time.  I wondered if the teen years would ever end.  They did.  Now, I have adult children with lives of their own – like the average person I wonder where the time has gone.

As I ponder now – what was the rush and where was I in such a hurry to get to anyway.

I wondered how to stop the days from moving so quickly, how  to slow down the wrinkles and grey hair and how to anticipate the senior years.

Well, they are here…at my local recreation centre where I obsessively play Pickleball, the age of 55 is considered the senior years.

I’m no longer in such a hurry.

There are so  many people who are lonely, angry, hurt, lost, who race through days, who’ve been ill, have cancer, have died…

I struggled my own way through a vast desert of years of doubt and life choices, what I’d done with my adult life and with some regrets until I worked it through to a point of reconciliation with myself, God and others.

I’m allowing the present and future lead me to new places and though I’m not in a hurry, I have some things to do.

At my core is the belief I am being led by God – if I’m listening and following.  Far from perfect I’m taking faith steps forward, hesitatingly at times but at least I’m moving.

Where once I was too afraid to try, here I am writing and painting, taking the time and learning how, growing, being stretched, falling down and getting up again.  It’s the same in my friendships, in my marriage, in my fun and play and where I can be of service to others.

Even in the whispers of perfectionism and doubt.

Join me in my quest to follow the painting to completion.

 

 

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One Step at a Time

Laying down the basics and keeping things simple. That is an easy model for me to begin my painting and then allow what transpires to take me where it wants to go.  I follow.

This process is helpful because when things go awry and get complicated my creativity is blocked and I believe I am stuck and unable to move forward.

I find it’s rather like life, mine anyway.   I like to lead a  simple life but at times it can get complicated or I  can run ahead of myself. It’s then I need to get back to the process of step by step even if I have to create it.

One of the items I brought along in my paint pack on my Arizona holiday were several strips of colored rice paper.

An idea I’ve used before and decided to try again thanks to an artist who taught me is to apply various products to the painting like string, sand, leaves, buttons, lace, etc – anything to give a lift, depth, dimension and excitement.

In a couple of my past favorite paintings I did use sand and bits of bark for logs for a particular beach scene – I loved those finished pieces and so did others because they bought them.

It’s rather an honor knowing someone liked the process I went through, learning, being challenged, growing, changing then ending up with a satisfactory and pleasing finish.

It’s like this in friendships, love, work and play, giving and serving others.  If I remain open to be taught, to grow, change and flex  perhaps in the end of days I’d like to think it will be a satisfactory and pleasing finish.

In this part of the picture below I began sticking wet rice paper onto the canvas and scrunching it to shape the hills and mountains in the background and rocks in the foreground.  In letting the shapes direct me I followed the shoreline with my fingers.

In some spots I had to pick off paper and in others add more to make the dips, shapes and jagged rocks appear or disappear.

Reflection keeps popping up as I compare the shaping of my life to the shaping of a painting.

How it will be in the end is yet to be discovered.

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A Blank Canvas

Late fall 2015.  Casa Grande, (Palm Creek) Arizona.

A holiday home for a month – a blank canvas and high hopes.

I took paints, containers, a canvas and an easel and set them on display on the table out on the patio.

For days I walked by the canvas as I went to and from the hot-tub, riding bike, playing a few games of pickleball or going for a walk.

Then I needed pain pills, an ice pack, a heat pack, stretches and rest.

I looked at the canvas with longing while I procrastinated telling myself I was just getting ready.  It was true – I simply needed to get into the space where I could let my hand, pencil and creativity connect with one another and then touch the canvas.

Rather like an exercise plan or a change to healthier eating or digging through a very cluttered closet.  There comes a moment, that space in time when one just knows to go ahead and take a step forward.

One day I did pick up my pencil.  I needed some stress relief and it felt good.  So much had been going on in the background of my mind filling up all the creative spaces and I first had to let the worry and concern leak out and give my head some room.

Just before leaving for our holiday an unwanted and unexpected stressful situation arose with a group I was involved in and potential loss of a friendship and it weighed heavily on my heart.

Driving had become so stressful since my car accident a year ago, with me always sighing in relief to get out of the car, either to stop driving or to ease the constant pinch in my back. It’s a long drive from BC, Canada to Arizona and  I drove because that is fair in a shared relationship but I didn’t exactly do my ‘fair share’.

This was my first large painting I was to try in that space of a year as I’d been focused on other areas of life like physio, massage, doctor appointments, fitness classes and trying to get myself back to what I believed my normal should be.

Once I began drawing my mind focused and shapes emerged on the canvas.  A fresh sense of excitement began to build and if not daily, then every other day I found myself slipping out the patio door and adding a touch of paint at various points on the canvas.

This stepping into my ‘painterly world’ continued for the next several weeks.

To me, this meant I was returning to myself and some deep part of me was healing.

Join me in future posts as I continue to share journal entries, slather on sunscreen for the outdoor daytime fun and while I slather paint on canvas to release the inner drive to feel full color again.

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