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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Thanksgiving Memoir

In honor of American Thanksgiving though I am Canadian and live in Canada and because I will be having a dinner served to me while on vacation in Arizona I thought it was the perfect opportunity to share a story from several years ago…

 

At my house the experience of Thanksgiving Dinner is similar to an approaching hurricane ending with the aftermath of destruction – my imagined comparison, seeing as I’ve never really experienced a real hurricane.

It begins with the slow build up of whirlwind activity, the planning, writing lists, shopping, then shopping some more with frenzy and panic building as the day comes closer.  There are recipes to prepare and store away, either in cupboards, fridge or freezer.

The decision of what kind of turkey to buy rests with me – should it be one shot full of grease or a fresh one from the local store which would be faster and easier for me.  Perhaps I ought to go all out and buy an organic recently killed beast from the farm too many miles away.

As the hurricane air stirs up I forget all about the turkey decision and send the hubby to buy it.  As the mounting tension rises I think about who will attend dinner, who will not and how many to invite.  Pondering how long one should wait to call I also consider how long they will stay and where I will put everyone in our small dining area.

The day arrives, the people come, the noise increases and the children run and screech.  The house is filled with the roar and the pace in the kitchen picks up as food flies from storage containers to the stove, from pot to bowl and the countertops disappear under the mountain of colorful platters.

The crowd plays musical chairs while one child wants to be near another and I quickly arrange a separation between two young adult siblings who chose this day to have a fight.

The legs of the table groan under stacks of mashed potatoes, a pile of healthy vegetables several children will not touch, a dead bird full of bread and twenty elbows plopped on top.

There are not really any full conversations to be heard, only sounds of whish, plunk, “pass the…” “thanks, “more please,” cranberry,” “mm mm good,” and “what, no more gravy” as the serving bowls and platters whisk by.

Then all becomes quiet except for the sounds of forks scraping plates, of slurp, munch and crunch as the food disappears down the human vacuums.

Once done eating, all the participants leave the table except one.  Mom.  Me.  I push my plate out of the way and lay my head on the table and out of one eye I survey the latest storm.

Instead of mountains of food it is now foothills of slop, with dark gravy stains on the white cloth, cranberry on the chairs, cloth napkins tossed into the empty stuffing bowl and the high chair needing to be hosed down.

I let out a long slow breath.

Lifting my head I take my napkin and fold it into a square then lay it on the table claiming it as my spot – the only clean one.  I’ll come back here later with a cup of coffee and a piece of pie.

I tune into the sounds around me and realize I have to go and stop the streams of rippled white goo spraying across the kitchen from an over enthused teenager who is using our canned whipped cream to stir up some excitement from a sibling.

With another long sigh, I recognize I wouldn’t have it any other way.

 

 

 

 

 

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