I sat on the floor for a long time today, sheets of paper spread out before me, some large and some larger, jars of water, a few paints and a brush or two. Barefoot. Painting a little, sitting mostly.
I made a big mess and I listened to Alicia Keys “HERE,” and I took notes:
· It doesn’t have to look like anything
· There is no instruction book
· Soften into the resistance
· Find a new language
· “What if love was holy and hate obscene?” ~Alicia Keys
· Maybe I’m doing it right
· Maybe I’m doing it wrong
· Does it matter if I’m doing it right or if I’m doing it wrong?
And then I made a list of things I love in my work:
· Bright colors
· Carving into paint
· Imaginary flowers
· Partial vessels
· Spreading paint with a palette knife and making little clouds in the trailing paint
· Color matching, color mixing, color surprising
· Flower forms - O U V
· Suggestions of stems
· Scribbling – back of the brush, pencils, charcoal, chalk pastels, oil pastels
· Incorporating words
Yesterday, at the art supply store, when I went to pick up a few more yards of the primed canvas I’ve been painting on un-stretched, I fell in love with some giant Sennellier oil sticks in a whole rainbow and then some of colors.
I was drawn to their size, and their wild colorfulness. I treated myself to two – they’re not cheap! – and I’m paying attention. What are the oil sticks telling me?
Sitting there on the floor, it became clear to me that the daily bravery paintings weren’t serving me. Not the bravery part, I am craving that now, but from trying to fit myself into a box that isn’t the right size.
Maybe the paintings were too small? Maybe my own parameters weren’t clear enough to me? Maybe I wasn’t clear enough to me. Do the paintings stand alone? Are they parts of a whole? Are they working things out? Or part of a process? So many questions, and I’m listening for the answers.
(Incidentally, five of the six have sold and are off to their new homes. The fourth sits on my work table, reminding me of the power of the project. I'm not letting it go.)