It has been a challenge, but I am all caught up!
When I made the commitment to participate in this challenge, I knew that it would be at times difficult. When I work in my studio I have a system, everything has its place, and my workspace and materials are always “at the ready” so that if I have a creative whim I can literally pick up a brush and begin painting with little if any prep of materials or workspace if any.
At the moment, I’m without a studio space or any of my materials as everything is all packed up in storage until my new studio is completed. So I knew that by accepting this challenge I would need to procure a small amount of supplies, and I needed to not only carve out time but space to paint. This was problematic, as my house is a wreck while my husband and I are working on renovating not only my new studio/gallery space but the residential apartment unit above it as well add two kids age 3 and almost 2 and things are just plain chaotic.
I felt strongly that I needed to do this challenge, I hadn’t painted since May. I have been missing my painting time as it’s not only my form of expression but it is my outlet as well. This summer has been full of excitement and stress, and I really needed this – for me.
So I picked up a sample paint set at my local art supply store, along with brushes and yupo paper. And commandeered one of the kids play tables and set out to paint while the kids were taking their afternoon naps. Right away I learned two things: 1) my kids don’t nap nearly as long as they used too. 2) I really miss having a organized workspace with everything ready.
Since I needed to play catch up because of the holiday weekend, I had to complete 4 paintings on 9/4. The first one, was certainly not my “A Game”… it was like a cough to clear out your throat before you speak. Only I was clearing out my mind… Everything had been muddled, jumbled, and such a mess, I just had to clear my mind by getting it out of my system. The second painting was a bit better, but to me still a bit off. Then my kids woke up, and their endless kid energy and desire to explore was becoming somewhat problematic to my ability to get the final two done. I was worried, and felt pressured as I felt like time was slipping away, and I was afraid that if I quit that I would quit the challenge altogether. But regained control, got the kids busy with other things, and was once again at the kiddie table ready to paint. The next obstacle…my mind. I paint much like I practiced in my days as a musician – alone. I really don’t like other people in my presence while I’m working on a painting, I can be working on a piece and be in a good spot emotionally and creatively my husband walk in and ask a question about a bill and I can never recover or get back into that zone I was in for that particular painting.
So here I was surrounded by my kids, who were momentarily distracted and I was on borrowed time, having just painted two not so great paintings, needing to paint two more, and my ability to focus and regain mental control of my creative space fragile. Where was I going to draw my inspiration from when I was so distracted? So I did what anyone would do in my situation… ask my 3yr old. Who promptly replied “Tree House”. I knew what she was referring to was the discovery tree at the Highfield Discovery Garden. I thought ok, I can do a painting inspired by the tree house, but less scary (she often says that the tree house is scary). When the painting was complete I showed it to my daughter who immediately said “Put Evie in the tree house”. I was a little concerned as a rule of thumb once I have mentally declared a painting as done, I don’t go back and touch it with paint. But how could I say no to such a request.. so the magenta at the base of the tree trunk represents Evie, and she was happy with that.
After I completed that painting, I was again at a loss… and then I noticed my daughters favorite stuffed toy “Roar”, a pink dinosaur. I thought “Roar” would be an excellent source of inspiration and the result was (in my opinion) my favorite painting of that day.