Saturday, March 8, 2014
Something In Me Wants to Create Again
Well, unless you count the kitchen and living room walls, which I painted last spring.
In fact, most people who know me now, probably don't even know that I ever painted, or drew, or was an art major in college before I took up writing and made that my vocation.
But painting with anything other than watercolors, which by nature tends to be a quick process, requires hours of uninterrupted time, and that is something I've not had since about 1985 when my daughter was born. Of course, the last painting I did was of her as an infant sleeping. I'm sure I did it while she was sleeping. It hangs in my youngest granddaughter's bedroom and bears more than a passing resemblance to the child who sleeps there.
Generally painting is not something I miss.
It's not something I have time to miss.
One day this week, though, a friend's Facebook post suddenly reminded me of how good it feels to take a blank canvas/paper/whatever and create. The fact that we were art class friends who not too long ago reconnected through Facebook only reminded me more of who I used to be, what we used to do.
For the biggest part of the first 24 years of my life, from the time I could safely hold a pencil, I drew. I received paint-by-number kits for Christmas and I progressed to taking the leftover paints and creating new things. I drew birds and dogs and cows and horses and things from my imagination. In high school we sketched each other in art class. We painted still life and abstract creations. In college I was an art major and submerged in the counterculture of the arts building where I painted, threw clay, learned to weave, ran shop tools to create crafts, and got drunk with my classmates. I even modeled for other art classes. I thought I would be an art teacher and recreate my favorite place from high school.
I was an art major for a year before a teacher suggested that I might want to pursue writing, and I went on to double major and then, shying from the education classes I would need to teach, went back home to work at my hometown paper.
It's been nearly 30 years since I painted. My art has been limited to crafts -- cross-stitch when I can keep children away from the needle and see to thread it, crocheting, knitting and children's activities. My creating has been with words, not a visual work for a long time.
Seeing someone else's creation the other day reminded me, however, that in this effort to put myself back together and find the bits I've lost in the last two and a half months, there are bits that I lost even longer ago that were once integral to who I was and that, perhaps, I need to reclaim those bits as well. Perhaps just as I carved out time a few months ago to return to the keyboard each morning, I can make a conscious choice to spend some of my evening hours with a paint brush.
Odds are good that the effort will do nothing more than cost me money for paints and perhaps take time that I might have spent doing something else, but perhaps it will still be good for my spirit, which often stumbles through the day.
I haven't painted in what feels like forever, but perhaps the time has come.