I went to the doctor today and I am happy to say that my lungs are clear, let the oil painting begin! That means I can begin work again on my portrait of Jessica, and numerous other painting ideas that have filled my head since the pneumonia of a month ago. Dan is insisting I paint outdoors, he is still concerned about my breathing. Either way, I’m happy. I have enjoyed using watercolor, and the few acrylics that I have done, but oil is and always has been my preferred medium. I had already begun a watercolor this morning so I finished that for this evening, but I plan on getting outside first thing in the morning before it gets too hot outside to get a little oil painting in.
I was just thinking how alike we all are as humans. So often we have something at our disposal, and don’t give it a second thought until it is taken from us. It is unfortunately true with some people and relationships too. We all need to learn to appreciate the people around us, in particular the ones that we love, but also people we interact with on a daily basis. One of the things I taught my kids was that when they went to school they needed to remember that the teachers were people too. They had no idea what was happening in that teacher’s life outside of class. Maybe if the teacher wasn’t their favorite it was because she or he wasn’t happy at home, or maybe had a loved one who wasn’t well. I also told them that for me part of being a mature adult is to try to look beyond the surface of people. I have known some women who were not very nice, only to find out later that they had a horrible childhood and learned to build protective walls around themselves. Otherwise known as “bitches”. When I look at my own life I can see why I became who I am. I know why I’m so compassionate, why I can laugh at myself, etc… Everyone has a story, some of those stories are not so pleasant. For unknown reasons to all of us, some people seem to be followed by a lucky star, and others spend their lives suffering and living in abject poverty. I think we need to all give each other a break. I worked in customer service for eighteen years. I cannot tell you how many times I changed someone’s day by remembering them, complimenting them, or just treating them with respect and a smile. When you are treated well remember to say thank you, and the next time you see someone and you think they look nice, tell them, or even offer a smile, it goes a long way to changing how someone’s day goes, and maybe it will even cause them to pass along that smile.
All of that because I missed my oils, and they’re back, I’m immensely happy about that!
I didn’t post yesterday, not due to illness recovery but because a household project very much got in the way. This wasn’t a roadblock that I threw in my own way, but something that had to be done. Just last week I wrote about not letting this blog turn into the Monday morning diet syndrome, I can’t let this happen. This project has become entirely too important to me. For the first time in my life I have a sense of accomplishment and true happiness. Like many people I spent years looking to others to make my life complete. It’s taken me a long time to figure out that only I have the key to make that happen. I’ve never felt the kind of pride I have in my accomplishments and in my work before. Of course I’ve done things I liked or loved over the years, but this is the first time that I have fought myself to make me a priority. I’m finally feeling better, there are no excuses to not get back on track. I find it ironic that tomorrow is Monday after my little rant, but it is, and I will start working on making up lost time. For tonight, after a very, very long day, I decided to just grab the watercolors and see where it led me. I was playing with color, still unsure of my project when I looked up to see Riley, my cat. She was laying in front of me in a rather cute position, problem solved, tonight’s subject, Riley.
No pencil sketch, just painting her as she lay.
I never know from day-to-day what I am going to create, much less what I will blog about. Both projects are discovering themselves as my day goes on. I will have to be very honest here, both the art and the writing are on the top of my daily “to do” list, but both are the last things I do at the end of the day most of the time. Why? I’m still struggling with putting myself first and letting go of my duties as wife/mother. I’m still making sure the kitchen gets cleaned in the morning, and that there are meals on the table, and every other thing I can think of in between. I’m working on it, but without much success. I will continue to figure this out, and at some point (hopefully) I’ll learn to ignore that the floor needs to be swept. (Disclosure: I can’t eat at those restaurants where they have rude wait staff and peanut shells on the floor. I cannot stand rudeness, and absolutely cannot eat in a place that has a dirty floor. I don’t know why I feel the need to share this, except that maybe it lets you know me just a little better. One might think by reading that, that I am a neat freak. Far from the truth. My house is clean, very clean, well at least as clean as a house with three cats and a twenty-two year old male can be, but I’m messy. I think I mentioned that before, I mean the me being messy part, again for no particular reason…)
I brought all of the above up because I (as regular readers might know by now) am struggling with not being good enough or perfect in my art. Tonight I had a little breakthrough. I didn’t work earlier today because of anything more than it was really hot here today, and unusually humid. Hot plus humid equal lethargic for me. I just wasn’t in the mood. Not that I didn’t try. I made a few pathetic attempts at something with clay, and although I promised to put up all work, warts and all, I didn’t even come up with something I could photograph even as an attempt. So at the magic hour of seven p.m., which seems to be turning into my starting time, I began a watercolor painting. My breakthrough was that I didn’t sweat it at all. When I do a rough sketch for a painting I worry over every little detail. I measure and fuss over the drawing being just right. I didn’t measure tonight. I just sketched, and then I just painted. In a moment I had the thought that the reality is, unless I am painting a well-known monument, the people who see my work are more than likely to never see the photo I use as inspiration, or into my brain to see where ideas spring from there (God forbid!). I started out tonight feeling like I was doing homework again, but then I relaxed, I let the process and my enjoyment of it take over. The finished project, a watercolor and ink inspired by a photo I took in Carmel, California, isn’t perfect. The perspective isn’t perfect. I am not perfect, and I’m learning to be content with all of it.