“Peace on the River”
Acrylics on 8″ x 10″ stretched, gallery-wrapped Canvas
I awoke this morning in a mild panic. This is Day 5 of the “30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge!” I started a painting yesterday but my ego didn’t believe in it. How could I possibly complete a painting, write my blog, post to my web site and Etsy and still get take care of business? important business! Like getting the trash and recycles to the street before pickup time.
This is where I used to veer off track. Sometimes there was just so much to do that I knew I could never do it all. So I did nothing. Maybe take a nap. Watch TV. Or do those “important” things like taking out the trash. I was the Queen of Procrastinators. I had not learned how to start something without knowing the outcome. If there were too many unknowns I was afraid to start.
But now it’s different. One day, about 6 years ago, I decided that if it was important to brush my teeth every day, it was equally important to create every day. And like brushing my teeth, it has to come first. I don’t give myself a choice of whether I will paint or not. I must do it whether I want to or not. Whether I’m inspired or not. Whether I “have time” or not.
And I realized that what was really holding me back was a lack of faith. And I say that with an all-encompassing meaning. I mean faith in myself, faith in the creative process, faith in the flow of life, faith in the creative energy that flows through me from the Source, faith in my right and responsibility as a creation of the Ultimate Creator to create.
And still I encounter fear every day. Sometimes It’s almost paralyzing. If I’m working on a painting and there’s an area I especially like, I’m afraid I might ruin it if I add another brush stroke. If I’m working on a painting and there’s nothing about it that I like, I fear that I will never be able to make another beautiful painting so I want to quit before I embarrass myself. And of course there’s the BIG fear of facing a totally blank canvas. Being raised by Depression affected parents, I was taught from an early age to be careful not to waste anything. I must have been at least 12 years old before I was ever allowed to draw on a blank piece of unlined paper. We used both sides of our lined paper for all school subjects except spelling and I was allowed to draw on the back of my spelling paper. My classmates soon learned to give their spelling papers to me instead of throwing them into the trash. My desk was stuffed with half-empty pages, stored away for that perfect piece of art work that I would complete some day. (And that’s how I started to become an art supply hoarder – but that’s a story for another time.)
So this morning I faced my little paint-smeared canvas with a judgmental eye. My ego mind began to chatter.
“Well this looks nothing like the painting you did yesterday. What about consistency? No one will take you seriously if you keep jumping around like that with your subject matter.”
“Where’s the excitement? This painting is boring.”
And on and on it went until I picked up the brush and allowed the painting to tell me what to do. I don’t know how to explain this without encouraging you, every one, to try it. Painting is easy. The hard part is having faith that I know what looks good and I can follow the paint and the brush until my eye is pleased with what it sees. Nothing else matters. It doesn’t matter what my ego-mind says. It doesn’t matter what other people say. It’s not even the finished product that matters, rather the process – what I experienced while going through the process of painting it and how it makes me feel to look at it when it is done. That’s what matters. And the bonus is if someone else likes it too. I believe that every painting is created especially for someone. It’s so exciting to be present when that person meets up with their painting.