I need to paint again…and I’m not talking about changing the color of my living room.
This thought occurred to me as I was thumbing through someone’s photos on facebook...wonderful pictures of flowers, butterflies, wonderous scenes and incredible sights. There was a time when I would turn photos into paintings, but it’s been so long that I worry I’ve lost my ability to recreate such things witht he swirl of a paintbrush. It also reminded me how much I miss my DSLR camera, a constant source of subject matter for my painting projects. I used to never be without it. Since my camera’s “demise” over a year ago, I have felt lost without it. I keep meaning to replace it, but then something else comes up. It’s always something else that take priority. It’s a shame, really.
My need to paint is not because I am fantastically talented, or my secret desire to be an aspiring artist, but simply because it soothes my soul. There is something so calming about painting that it allows me to find my focus not just on whatever project I am working on, but in other areas of my life as well. I used to paint all the time, like some sort of manic female Van Gogh (although not nearly as giftted.) My specialty? Decorative painting – mostly in the form of floral work, strokework, zhostovo (Russian folk) painting, as well as anything else that caught my attention. I can remember periods of time in my life when I would paint until late at night, only to set my alarm for four or five o’clock in the morning to begin again. I would scour antique stores looking for furniture that I could turn into usable works of art to adorn my house, or give as gifts. People love a gift that is a direct reflection of the person who presented it. And I loved being able to give family and friends something so deeply personal, like a little piece of my heart.
It’s hard to make time for the things in your life that bring you back to center. I’m living proof of that statement, believe me. Most of my days are spent whipping around Manassas at breakneck speed. I’ve said before that I need to take time to breathe...painting and using my creative spirit is part of that process. Creativity allows us to focus our energy on something that provides joy and self-satisfaction. You need not be inordinately skilled, you just need to have the courage to try something new.
I have more hobbies than I can count – painting, photography, knitting, quilting, cooking, drawing, gardening – but the common theme in all of them is my hobbies allow me to reach deep down and find that certain something that makes me happy. And for me, that “something” is color. All my hobbies revolve around color. Color makes me light and carefree. Color makes my heart sing in ways that nothing else can. Of course, this all seems strange coming from a woman whose wardrobe revolves around the color black. Only in my fashion choices do I purposefully leave out loud and riotous colors. What can I say? I’m a product of the 80s and 90s, destined to forever dress in dark colors, always looking to appear ten pounds smaller than I am. Maybe when I am “elderly” as my daughter likes to say, I will be different. Maybe then I shall wear lots of color.
So for now, my challenge comes in the form of time. Time to paint, time to create, time to learn new things to challenge myself. I have always been good at making time for a lot of other people – some deserving of my time, and some not so much. Maybe a requisite re-evaluation of what I am doing with my time is needed. Maybe?
Definitely...time to reawaken my creative side and find that joy and focus again.