"northern sky" - acrylic on canvas
“northern sky” – acrylic on canvas

Long time, no blog.

I’ve been painting.

I’ve been doing other things, of course: swimming, gardening, holiday-making, family stuff, movie-watching, writing, reading, a tiny bit of documenting. But for the most part, when I have a bit of free time, I find myself painting.

I guess it’s safe to say that the painting class I took in October (Bloom True with Flora Bowley) had a HUGE impact on me.

For years, there was a little voice inside my head that said “I want to paint.” My art teacher in high school was amazing, so I had unlimited access to the art studio and the supplies within in it throughout my junior and senior years. And because I was being graded on my art, I was compelled to devote time and effort to it.

Then I went to college, and there was NO real visual arts program, and definitely not access to a studio. So I stopped making art, and got interested in graphic design instead. It was something I could do in my dorm room, with minimal supplies. But it wasn’t the same.

I finished college and grad school and found myself with space and time to be creative again. But I couldn’t justify the time and energy to paint, even though I *wanted* to. I felt like I needed to be spending my time in useful, productive ways. So every time that little voice said “I want to paint”, I would respond to it by finding ways to paint that were part of a bigger whole. I do jewelry design, so I started painting beads. I felt documenting our life was justifiable because Gracie would have those books to look back on, so I painted in my art journals. I painted only as part of a bigger whole.

And even though I kept “painting” (or so I thought), the little voice that said “I want to paint” never went away. It frustrated the hell out of me, to be honest.

The “Bloom True” class appealed to me for years, but there was no way I was going to spend the money on it. It just seemed too indulgent, especially since I had made absolutely no effort to paint on canvas in years. I kept bringing it up, and Tom kept telling me to take the class, that I HAD to take the class, but I kept not signing up.But then Tom’s mom passed, and I KNEW that she would have wanted me to take that class- in fact, if she had known about it, I’m 100% certain she would have gifted it to me. That’s how she was. So I enrolled.

At first, I planned on NOT buying any of the supplies that were recommended- I was going to be thrifty and “make it work” and figure out a way to apply what I was being taught to art journal and beads and other things I already had going.

But right before class started, I had an urge to get some canvases and paints (not the cheapy 2 for $1 craft stuff) and actually do the class as it was intended. And because the class was a financial investment, it gave me incentive to not make it into anything it wasn’t- it *wasn’t* a mixed media class, it *wasn’t* an art journal class, etc. It was canvas and paints, period.

So I began to paint, tentatively. On the first “painting day” of the class, I put it off all afternoon. But when I finally sat down and started painting, M83 blasting on the laptop and my eyes shut tight, finger painting (it was an assignment), it was like a dam burst. I felt a sense of peace and “at home”-ness that I haven’t felt in a very long time. It felt like I was coming back into my own place in the universe.

More than that, it was FUN. It made me giddy. And I wanted more of that.

So these past few months, I have been painting. I give myself the time and space to paint. I let myself spend money on supplies. I’m a fairly frugal person, so I haven’t gone Golden-crazy (THE brand of acrylics that every artist seems to lust after), but I do have a full drawer of Liquitex and Daler-Rowneys in a rainbow of colors. And it makes me enormously happy.

But the biggest thing is that I give myself the opportunity to do this without ANY justification. I have no idea of how this can or will fit into my desire to contribute to the world, but that’s okay.  There’s no bigger picture, no plans of what might evolve from this, no thoughts of “maybe someone will like what I am painting and I can make prints…” (<— the main reason I have not shared any of my paintings anywhere but on Facebook.) It just is what it is.

I think the real reason I love to paint so very much is because of the little groove I get into when I am sitting at my table, dabbing bits of color onto canvas. I feel lost in time and space but also deeply grounded and rooted. I didn’t know it was possible to feel both those things. Definitely not at the same time.

I don’t know where I am going with any of this, but I know I need to keep going. I just wish I listened to that little “I want to paint” voice years and years ago, because it was absolutely, 100% correct. And as long as that little voice asks me to paint, I will pay attention.

I do have one of those “2013/2014” New Year’s posts but I wanted to share this first. I think this whole experience has really changed my views on so many aspects of my life, and it’s definitely influenced my ideas of what I’d like to do in the next few months.

Happy New Year <3

7 thoughts on “painting

  1. this is a gorgeous painting, chel. i would totally buy it from you to hang in my home. i am glad to hear that you are painting so much and that it is fulfilling for you. you are quite talented, my dear. love you, and happy 2014!

  2. I’m so glad you are listening to your internal voice. And look at the beauty that has come from it! That’s a gorgeous piece of art! I hope you will share more paintings. Happy New Year! May both our days be filled with lots of paint stained fingers.

  3. I love it when something comes along and unexpectedly changes how we see things–and in such a beautiful way as this! You always inspire me with your creativity and persistence toward the act of creation, Chel! Happy New Year!

  4. WOW… LOVE your painting, Chel… it’s gorgeous! And loved hearing abour your Bloom True experiences. Like you, I too, was put off by the price of the course initially… but caved in as I knew it would be good for it. And it was. :o) Painting is entering the secret world of one’s own, one’s inner spirit, and releasing it onto canvas–an amazing thing. Looking forward to sharing a new creative year with you. :o) Happy New Year to you & yours! So lovely to catch up with you here for all this love & beauty post-holidays and travels. Thank you for the good wishes my way… ((HUGS))

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