My Mom recently renovated her bathroom. A couple weeks ago she told me she has never asked for anything specific for her birthday gift, but could I please paint her a “Seascape” painting for her birthday. She loved the “Seascape” paintings I had made for Shannon Raelynn’s book launch, and was now wanting one for herself.
I told her I could, yet on the inside I was thinking: “Oh no, I have not painted in several months, my Muse has abandoned me. I don’t know when she is coming back, if ever. I don’t know if I can do this without her.”
Well, with my Mom’s birthday looming (it is tomorrow Oct. 1st), I hauled out the paints, a 24″ x 12″ canvas on Saturday, and had at ‘er! It was slow going to begin with , a couple times I was ready to pack it in. At one point I got upset, not satisfied with my progress and wiped down the entire canvas with a damp rag. I began to see some potential in what I had done thus far. My Muse appeared just in the nick of time; several hours later I decided I had my best painting thus far. Happy Birthday, Mom, “Seascape III” is all yours!
I often hear friends and family say they would love to paint, write, or engage in other artistic pursuits if they had the time. I must admit I felt the same way for most of my life.
About a year ago I realized that if I did not start engaging in the artistic endeavors I desired to be part of my life, I might not ever get the chance. It occurred to me if I was waiting for a big chunk of time to begin writing or painting, that day could be long in coming, if ever. The perfect time was never going to arrive.
I decided to steal moments here and there as I could to jot tiny snippets of memoir down, start or finish poems, even paint small paintings, sometimes while making dinner in between stirring a pot of sauce and pasta.
Finally giving myself permission to engage in these activities (even for 15 minutes at a time) provided a sense of well-being. The pleasure of allowing myself the chance to express myself and actually do something I longed for was immensely gratifying.
If you want to dabble with some art in quick stolen moments…try getting some 4×6 or 5×7 little canvases and acrylic paints, or some paper and watercolors and make 5 minute paintings…..or buy yourself a beautiful journal to write 15 minute little poems, snippets of stories, moments of memoir…you may surprise yourself!
Remember even a novel can be written ten minutes at a time. 😉
(One of my 5 minute paintings.)
Just over fourteen years ago I met a kindred spirit, my dear friend Shannon. We met while working for a family services organization. Little did we know at the time, we would become very close friends sharing an intense common passion. Beside our friendship and mutual respect for each other, we discovered that we shared a love for writing.
Both Shannon and I resigned from our jobs on the same day in 2001, celebrating our final day of work together a few weeks later. Very shortly afterward she began writing her first novel, which ended up being a twelve year process, in between helping her husband with his business, having another child, and parenting responsibilities. During this same time frame, I ventured to the city to take the occasional writing workshop, dabbling with poetry and short stories.
Serendipity! Synchronicity! Within a few days of Shannon publishing her first book this Spring, the one she began so many years earlier, I discovered that for the first time ever I would have poems/ paintings exhibited, as well as a short creative non-fiction piece published in an anthology. I don’t think you could find two friends more ecstatic for each other. We never imagined we would celebrate being published authors together!
In celebration of Shannon’s novel “Seascape”. I painted two abstract paintings for her – “Seascape” (above) and “Seascape II”. One was a door prize at her book launch. I call it the “Pay It Forward Painting” because it was won by another friend of Shannon’s who worked diligently to prepare the launch party. The second painting is in Shannon’s office / writing room.
A few weeks back I mentioned that I would let you in on a secret about my paintings. The secret is: I paint them using my hands, not a brush!
If you would like to read more about Shannon Raelynn and her novel “Seascape”, a contemporary fiction novel visit: http://www.shannonraelynn.com
Shannon is now hard at work on her second novel….and no, this one will not take twelve years to write she assures us. I am working on gathering a bunch of poems I have written over the last few years to edit, and will continue to “fingerpaint”. We will continue to celebrate together.
Ventured to Edmonton with one of my sons on Thursday evening to attend the opening reception of the InSight 2 – Engaging the Health Humanities International Exhibition. So exciting to see my paintings and poems displayed alongside so many other intriguing exhibits by talented artists and health professionals.
When we first arrived, we wandered though the UofA (Fine Arts Building) FAB Gallery viewing all the work, but admittedly my eye was on the look out for my exhibit. I was a little panicked when I thought we’d been through it all and I could not find my paintings / poems, then I remembered we had not been to the very first area near the entrance…..sure enough they they were! Whew. For a minute or two I did think it really all had been just a dream!
I was also thrilled to read some of the same thoughts I had expressed in my initial submission, and 150 word “abstract” about my exhibit, being expressed in the keynote speaker, Dr. Alan Bleakley’s introduction in the publication that is also part of this exhibition / symposium. As an advocate of the health humanities / arts and medicine working hand-in-hand, he readily acknowledges that there can be “well-being without being well.”
I was so grateful to be able to attend the reception to see my “Blue-Green Elixir” up on the FAB Gallery wall, being visited by fellow artists, writers, doctors, health professionals, students, and the public at large. Thank you so much to Graeme for ensuring I made it to the reception, and Shannon who was very much with me in spirit every step of the way! Love you both for knowing how important this was to me, without me having to tell you!