Heavenly Inspiration, And A Reason To Celebrate, was what I was going to name this post, but decided it was much too long. I’ll start with the first part.
Long after I’m gone I think one of the things my children will remember most about me is my never-ending, “Look at the sky.” “Did you see those clouds?” “Isn’t it beautiful?” I love a beautiful sky, a sunrise, a sunset, and in particular a cloudy day. Not too cloudy, just the days when the clouds look thick and rich like you could scoop up a spoonful, or bounce on them like a trampoline. They are also my favorite thing to paint. Clouds are actually what inspired me to paint in the first place. I’ve mentioned before that I have been drawing since about the age of five, but painting came later. I think around thirteen or fourteen. My Dad signed my sister and I up for a Chicago Park District painting class. He made her go because I was shy, which was unfortunately for her a price she paid more than once. We were the only young people in the class. I actually don’t remember too much about it. (I have a very convenient mental block for some of my more regrettable childhood moments) but I do remember what I painted, I may even still have it somewhere, it was a bowl with fruit and flowers. The woman teaching the class wasn’t a professional, she was a college med student making extra money. We went once a week for I think about six weeks, and I really don’t think we learned anything, but it was enough to whet my appetite. Our house was a bungalow with open attic space on both the front and back of a dormer that had been bumped out on the second floor. I claimed one as my “studio”, and would sit contentedly painting clouds, and non-distinctive landscapes. The best part about it was that I didn’t know enough to know that I didn’t know what I was doing. (Did you get that? Tongue twister anyone?) All I know was that it was a place to lose myself, and hide away from everyone, and create my own world right there on canvas. I have mentioned that I was a shy kid, but I was also the kid everyone made fun of, art and reading were my security blankets and only friends. When the teacher would leave the classroom for a moment and chaos would erupt, I would be sitting quietly at my desk, my new Nancy Drew Mystery in my hand, always anxious to get back to the next page. Art was the only class in school where I could feel happy and safe. I forgot about everything else when I was creating. When I began to paint it gave me such a sense of freedom, watching the oils swirl together magically under my brush, creating the days I wanted to have, and places I wanted to be.
Today was a particularly cloudy day here in Temecula. There was a storm front passing through, unusual for this time of year here in Southern California, but what a spectacular sky it gave us. Dan and I were out running errands and all I did was snap photos of the clouds. Thus my “Heavenly” inspiration. Initially I had planned to paint from one of the photos I took, but I decided to revisit my fourteen year old self and paint what I wanted to see.
As for my “Cause For Celebration”, I hit a milestone today with my blog. I have one hundred and one followers. I never thought about “followers” when I started this blog and project. It was a way to blackmail myself into doing the work I should have been doing all along. I know who I am. I am the woman who cleans the hotel room before the housekeeper comes in, just in case she might think I’m a slob. It doesn’t matter that she could probably care less, doesn’t know me, never will, but I’m that neurotic. I knew that if I made my promise to do more art a public vow, I would do it. You know, in case the WordPress police show up at my door. I know some of you that read this blog do know me (probably a lot more now, maybe more than you bargained for), some of you are family and friends, but I don’t know one hundred people, so I want to thank all of you. The ones I know, the ones I don’t know, (and the ones that maybe no longer want to know me now that they’ve gotten to know me better!) thanks for the support, for being interested in the struggles of a woman who has put herself on the bottom of the “to do” list for most of her life. Thanks for looking at my art, reading my words, and for those of you who have reached out by commenting here, via email, or on Facebook. This has turned into a gift for myself, I never had friends as a kid, and have been a fairly solitary adult, but I feel like I’m part of something. Thanks.