Wednesday, January 17, 2018
The last of the fog has lifted and left the morning to its quiet routine. Mostly silent, with a dog snoring close by. I turned off the radio so that I could have silence inside for a little while, just enough to get grounded and find my ballast for the day.
Outside, the ornamental grasses are spreading their ribbon-like leaves wide to catch the dew and, from time to time, the winter rains. Soon, they’ll send up a mass of stalks to get all showy for the spring and summer bloom. When I look at them I see, well - them, but a painting as well. More precisely, I see how to paint them. My mind usually finds what I need to see in something if I am attentive to it. Here, I see the darks and lights. It’s the basis of any painting really. Where are your darks and where are your lights? Gotta have ‘em and the bigger the contrast the more the drama!
I squint and look only for the darks. It’s not a plant anymore, it’s a design. Then I squint and look for only the midtones and again for the lights. If it were a stronger daylight I might even find some highlights, but not this morning with the sun making its way behind the cloudbank.
It is a lesson in seeing… breaking things down and being mindful of the components and deciding what to do with them. It helps me to paint what I see, not what I THINK I know about it.
Yup, not unlike life eh? I find myself doing much the same thing when I am overwhelmed or have something niggling me. Take myself off to an observation point and squint at it. I break it down a bit and find where I might be trying to impose my own cranky-pants moments and what I might need it to look like, onto what is not really there. Maybe I need a break and I just need to get prickly at something to give me an excuse instead of having a good squint and tapping out for the day. Maybe I am ready to grow forward and am holding back for fear of the unknown and am looking for a reason to hold me back. These days, those reasons have long vacated my building and no amount of squinting will bring them back. Everything in my life is a result of something I have chosen. No get out of jail card.
So, I am left with my perception and my design.
My design comes by way of how I deal with the darks and lights, the highs and lows and the pieces that fall into the picture. All necessary of course; all a part of my sketch. These all come together to create the picture; the “why am I here” picture. The “what is my purpose” picture. The “meaning of life” picture and the “have patience, it will come together” picture.
It’s comforting to know that once I have pulled it apart and put it back together (or not) I feel better able to paint it, to deal with it. I know it better and can decide on other things like whether to explore it as an abstract or try for more realism. I get CHOICES because now I don’t fear it, nor am I confused by it. I get to decide. I like that about painting - seeing, breaking it down and choosing… it has a nice rhythm to it.
So, having sat for a moment and squinted about, I’ll put on my reading specs and sketch out my day ahead… who knows, today may be an abstract kinda day!