Sunday, January 6, 2013

Painting my way through 2013

As the New Year came and went I became rather obsessed with wanting to paint. I did a mother-daughter session last year that was designed to introduce us to acrylics and discovered that I am a hidden, secret artist. Not fantastic, never going to make a living off it, but just enough to feel good about one's self and wonder why my Art teachers never recognized Picasso Pav in the making ;)

I have decided to do a large piece, 30x40 inches of a mosaic I have seen in the Vatican Museums. A basket of flowers, apparently a reproduction of a 2nd century Roman mosaic. I love it, and am dying to paint it... Today I finished the back breaking job of drawing it and transferring it to my canvas. Tomorrow I begin painting. I hope it will turn out decently. I hope I will be able to look at it for years to come and enjoy it, remember the arduously satisfying business of painting it, and the fond memories of my visits to Rome that it should evoke.

Painting is a meditative process of sorts... not entirely, for me because my brain has a hard time shutting down, hence I blog, because writing is also a cathartic process for me. My mind never seems to want to stop and take a rest. Painting, however, forces it to think differently. I must think of colours and tones and shades. It's good exercise for my verbose self to think quietly and internalize for a change. In fact, I find it tires me less than some of my daily activities which involve dealing with people. Painting is therapeutic for me in that way. It's physically tiring, especially on my back and shoulders, but it's emotionally very satisfying.

I love that moment when at the end I can look at a completed piece and say, "Yes, I better stop now, I'm overdoing this!" It's a sense of completion, of finishing a job that I set myself and the sense of accomplishment that comes with it at the end. It keeps me going through a project, it drives me on. The creative process that I have discovered channels my thoughts and instincts in a new way. I am just delighted that despite my illness I can express myself, and that I can still begin something and finish it.

That ability to start small and finish a project can elude a person who lives with chronic illness who struggles with pain or tiredness and may want nothing more than to rest quietly. I enjoy a good, quiet rest but I also enjoy being able to finish something I have begun, and so I keep trying to do little pieces of art from time to time.

I am grateful I am well enough to manage painting. It would be challenging if I was ill in hospital, though we have all read or heard about people who paint without arms even... so I really can't complain about tiredness, really. When I am tired, I rest, but I am drawn back towards finishing... so I can stand back and say I did something no matter how I felt physically, and emotionally. I move from one small step to the next towards completion.

Small steps along the way keep me energized, and encouraged. I look at the art pieces I have finished, and I feel that my life has an extra dimension of meaning... When I am unwell, I feel so useless sometimes, but I tell myself that when I am better I will paint. It gives me something to aim for, a goal to work towards, an extra purpose to my life. Indeed I have so many things to do in life one might think I was over reaching... but this artistic activity is entirely mine. Yes, it's just something I do, for me, at my leisure, and no matter what anyone else thinks of it, I am happy just to know I actually did it. I sign off on it, and it is mine. Forever.

I am excited about beginning painting tomorrow. It will be the biggest painting I have undertaken thus far. That's a scary challenge, but I think I shall enjoy the process. No stress, no strings attached, no approvals needed but mine... and these days my standards are pretty mediocre. Let's just say I'm realistic :)

I think everyone should have something they enjoy doing just for themselves in the quiet moments of their day and that gives them tremendous pleasure. It makes life so much richer. I wish the same for you. May your life have many secret treasures that find you grateful for what you can accomplish, and excited about what life has in store for you. May your life be full of all good things always, may your path lead you to quiet places of contemplation and peace. May you discover something new this year about yourself. Who knows, you might have a secret talent. If I can paint, well, you can do just about anything ;)

Thanks for reading,