The past few weeks have been incredibly hard for me – physically and emotionally. Between finally getting my shoulder fixed to sending Alissa off on her first solo trip to my parent’s marriage reaching an end, to say I’m a mess would be an understatement.
Back in April, I treated myself to Danielle Donaldson’s creativeGIRL class, mostly because my friend Kirsten is always making cool stuff and she was attending. I had no illusions that I have any talent in the painting or drawing department. That’s how I ended up a photographer. We can’t all be as wildly talented as my mom, who is an artist with every fiber of her being and turns every medium she touches into pure brilliance.
It turns out that with the right guidance, anyone can paint. Even me. I thoroughly enjoyed the class (although I still have one lesson left to watch) and found a whole slew of artists whose work I enjoy.
I’ve had a difficult time with words lately. It’s not that I don’t enjoy writing or journaling anymore because I absolutely do. I’ve just found that I have so many emotions pulsing through me that it’s been hard to get them all out. It’s like someone pulled the fire alarm in my head and all of these thoughts are trying to cram out one little exit.
But the emotion keeps churning, anxious to escape. So I’ve channeled my evening journaling into sketching. For a while, my mom had me into Zentangles, which is really a form of methodical doodling (and super relaxing). But sketching somehow seems even more mindless and that’s what I really need right now. Mindless mind wandering.
Kirsten recently got a Kelly Barton piece that I adore. Something about that piece guided my sketching this week and I ended up with a girl I really liked.
She kept calling to me until finally I did something about it. I had recently watched a Kelly Rae Roberts video and really love her collage style work. The next thing I knew, I was cutting and tearing bits of paper, pieces of my Flow Magazine, and scraps from another project Alissa and I worked on.
I was pulling apart old bubble mailers and searching the house for anything that would make a cool texture. I Mod Podged. I flung paint. I scraped, pressed and dribbled all over my birch canvas.
As I moved through this piece, I could see all the little bits of me – the butterflies, the colors, the textures, the patterns. Even the girl hiding in the background with the camera. Something inside of me was being released and it felt great. I understand now why art is so therapeutic for people with emotional challenges and brain disorders such as epilepsy.
I found this really great Thoreau quote and knew that it would become the final part of this piece – the message that this piece speaks about:
“You must live in the present, launch yourself on every wave, find your eternity in each moment. Fools stand on their island of opportunities and look toward another land. There is no other land; there is no other life but this.”
The words that really jumped out at me was the phrase “find your eternity in each moment.” So often, we get wrapped up in what is to be – the fools looking to another place to find the moment they are standing on, forgetting to take stock in today, hoping for a better tomorrow.
Despite the anguish of the emotional part of my life these days, I must choose to find the opportunities where I stand, to cherish the moments that are now. Tomorrow will bring new opportunity, new moment, new eternities. Or it may not. Life is now.
This painting took me a total of about three days. It’s a mixed-media piece with paper, acrylic, watercolor and pencil. I unlocked so much joy in creating it, and had fun sharing snippets of it on Instagram while I polled my artistic friends for their opinions on details that were baffling me. I had debated whether or not to add eyes, and even Googled “eyes” and “big eyes” (the images that came up in the the latter search will haunt you) and it was a unanimous choice to leave her eyes from the painting. I have to agree with everyone that it does add a bit of mystery.