Living It – Painting It

After that last blog, I measured, cut, and tacked up a large sheet of paper; put out clean brushes, a bowl of fresh water, the naked palette on which to squeeze out blobs of bright color. I was ready for a fulfillment that would have to be postponed until my Wednesday obligation was completed. Some part of me was ready, even reassured, as I gave another part of me completely to the nurturing of my baby grandson, tiny lovable tyrant that he is. I played, fed, rocked, wept, loved, and prayed my way through those long demanding hours, stretching the particles of leiflife between the baby, his precocious three-year-old sister, and my precious and beleaguered son – their father. You must understand, that even as I am wrung dry, emotionally and physically, by participating in their lives, my heart is fiercely, gladly churning  with love.

Love got me through those hours, and through a night of erratic sleep. I woke up tired. Yet the paper was in place, and I was open enough to take a chance – even if my first attempt appeared to fail.  One does what one does. One goes through familiar motions without much thought for outcome. The important thing is to invite the subconscious – to entice the subconscious to break through accumulated barriers. One simply goes ahead, observing as much as making the strokes – seeing the color appear on the clean white paper.  It is a brave act, because possibly those first strokes will be made up of flying debris. The barrier,  formed of bits and pieces amassed over time, is breaking up and being released. Once you stand back, the blessed release could look like a mess.

And this is what I see on the large square surface of the paper. A colossal mess of brilliant color – chaotic beauty that tempts me to search for form and meaning.  In the swirling, sweeping explosion of color, some shapes are present: Circular; a huricane-like profusion of red, yellow, greenish blue, with a calm blue center. Then an area  reminiscent of a fetus: curling, pink and purple, intimate and soft. I also see it as a butterfly or flower: wings/petals unfurling, fragile as hope. Below it lies an expanse of fertile green: long upward strokes form a sea of promise, but in the midst is a loop or knot that stops me in my tracks. I want to erase the dark obstruction. Painting over it made it stronger, even more obvious. It catches my eye and makes me want to fight its presence in the promising vista. And the messy swirling hurricane asks for neatening up.

I’ve been here before: gazing at abstraction – trying to see some clarity – trying to interpret a garbled message – wanting, oh wanting a recognizable picture of who I am. What if I’m looking at it? What if this glorious indecipherable mess is me – this painting an honest image of my present state? Don’t I know my life is messy these days? Perhaps the process of painting it, seeing it, and accepting it as it is can help me to feel less at the mercy of external forces.

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2 Responses to “Living It – Painting It”

  1. Kendall Says:

    You write beautifully of the colors, shapes, and images. I can almost see the picture. You paint it in my imagination with your words.

    • leiflife Says:

      Dearest Kendall, I am glad you can see the painting through my words. What you see may be far more beautiful than the actual image. How marvelous is the imagination! I have only done one small image besides that large abstract, having caught cold from little Bryce. So the weekend has been mostly rest and contemplation. This is alright; I have needed the stillness, and it gives me time to be with those first images before moving on. With love, Leif

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