Spring is here, the flowers are almost in bloom, the leaves peeking from their respective branches. It feels great to be outdoors, the sun in my face, the wind whipping my hair as I cart my paint supplies out to the picnic table by my flagstone patio. Seems like a great idea, romantic even. My three year old daughter wants to paint with me and the wind is knocking everything off the table. I try to persevere and keep up the facade of painting outside like a true nature loving, artistic soul. I start the painting but the wind is blowing my hair straight across my eyes making visibility difficult. I take a quick run into the house for a hair elastic and come back to find my daughter “painting” on my canvas, the one I had already started. I start over, placing a tiny canvas board in front of her so she can paint also. I spend about half an hour on the painting, trying to re-capture what I had originally started. Then the wind picks up and tips the water container, dirty paint water and all across the whole painting and into my lap. My daughter giggles. I don’t. After mopping that up I’m still determined to make this work. After all, it’s a beautiful day and I want to be outside. I move the water container to a safer spot and start over….again. This time everything falls into place and the afternoon flies by. My daughter jumps from painting on her little canvas to playing with her toys on the vast lawn. I complete my painting; it looks exactly as I wanted it to. I decide to leave it to dry on the picnic table knowing it will dry fast in the sun. My daughter and I started carting the painting supplies back into the house, stopping for a drink and some cookies. When we go back out we are blasted by a fierce wind, it takes our breath away, almost knocking my daughter off her feet. Hand in hand we walk around the side of the house, back to the flagstone patio and there is the painting, face down in the grass about 10 feet from the picnic table. Afraid to pick it up myself I ask my three year old; she happily bounces over and picks it up. “Look Mommy at all the pretty colours.” The mixed, smeared and smudged painting, grass and dirt stuck to it, the face of the figure unrecognizable; leave it to a three year old to find beauty in the wreckage!
With four kids at home and two step kids part time I often use my painting time as a an artistic release from the chaotic life that so many children under one roof provide. I have many stories about life with six kids. Here is one, unfortunately it is a true story! haha
It’s funny really; you bring home this tiny package, bundled snug in a blanket, ready only for your love and care. Then you lose a little sleep, gain a little weight, blink for just a moment and your wonderful, sweet little baby is two and calling you names that would embarrass a sailor. You break out into a sweat at the thought of entering any public domain with your child. The “F” word, that dreaded word that you most fear always slips out of his tiny lips at the exact moment an old lady bends in for a closer look. The words “aren’t you a darling” hang empty in the air as she “tsk, tsks” her way to the cash. This is not a word he learned in a picture book, or one of his movies, if you are lucky like us you could blame it on his teenage brother but for most it is obvious that this word was learned by you, the parent.
Like most parents, we dread our trip to the grocery store. It was on our last shopping trip that our son decided he wanted freezies, in the middle of March. Of course not freezies that you take home, freeze for a day and enjoy later; no, no, freezies at that moment, in that aisle. We tried to tell him just two aisles down he would find some already frozen. But he lay there, spread out on the floor, legs flailing, arms outstretched as if calling in help from the heavens above and I felt that familiar feeling. The shortness of breath, the pounding heart, the get me out of this moment now or I might lose total control feeling. I could have picked him up and endured some bruises from his swinging limbs. I could have grabbed him by the hand and dragged his limp body down the aisle. I could have threatened him with lose of toys, treats, life or limbs but then I would have been witness to an academy award winning performance at high volume, in surround sound. Instead I walked away and simply waved good-bye. It worked. Somehow, on that day, the clouds parted; letting out a little ray of sunshine I depicted as hope and turned my child into a sudden angel. We went merrily down the aisle on to the frozen section where he choose Popsicles, placed them carefully in the cart and proceeded to tell us to hurry. As I do not tell a lie you will believe me when I say we went straight to the cash and then straight to hell. He began his usual swing form the shiny silver “balance beams” which called out to him for at least one lick on its germ infested coldness. As he swung and slide on his bum across the dusty floor he started a rant. “Oh no, oh, oh, I can’t take this. Oh no, oh, oh, I can’t take this. Hurry. I can’t take this.”
I dared to ask, “What can’t you take?”
“I want my treat.”
The nice lady on the cash laughed and said “oh how cute. Well I think they are going to make you wait though.”
I laughed with her, although my laugh quickly slipped into the hysterical laugh of a lunatic. I knew from painful experience that we were nowhere near home free. We packed our groceries into the cart, shuffled his little body along to distract him as we began our exit from the store; not soon enough though, for he yelled with great irritation, “hurry, you fucking idiot.” Ah parenting, the job meant for a saint.
I’ve been asked what inspires me to paint and while I struggle to come up with the obvious answers like my surroundings, the beauty of nature, my love of life what truly drives me to paint are my emotions. Sometimes the more emotional or stressed out I am the better the painting turns out. It seems I’m painting sadness. I have had more than a few people tell me that my artwork is packed with emotion. I guess I wear my heart on my sleeve; at least when it comes to painting. In life I keep my emotions to myself on the most part. I don’t share my inner pain with friends or family or even my spouse. Maybe from an artistic point of view that is a good thing. For my aching soul it’s a terribly lonely feeling. When I paint from an emotional frame of mind the end product is so drenched in sadness I don’t think I could honestly call much of my art therapeutic. Mostly it’s a visual diary to the ups and downs of my life. A life filled with love and betrayal, struggles that reach beyond just the financial burden I often face. When someone buys a piece of my art they are truly buying a piece of my soul, my very own visual diary.
You can find more of my art for sale at http://www.etsy.com/shop/ourhouseabstractart