Today I was explaining to a fellow artist what it was like when I started painting again. Before I re-acquainted myself with a paintbrush several years ago, the last time I’d painted was approximately 1998. I only know this because of a Marilyn Monroe painting I’d signed and dated:
I may have painted off and on leading up to this point in 1998, but most of it had been in high school several years prior to this piece. I can’t quite recall which watercolor painting marked my re-entry in 2006. It may have been an octopus design I recall attempting… whatever it was, I know I didn’t complete it. Unfortunately, that part of me from high school also hadn’t left: the impatience and lack of attention span to complete a piece. There are times I fight it to this day.
OK… back to the point of the story. When I started painting again in 2006, my life was at a huge turning point. Massive. Ginormous. EPIC. I’d left a very long-term relationship, partially motivated by this gut feeling I had. I didn’t know entirely why I had to move on, but I knew I had to listen to that intuition. Thankfully, I learned years later why it was necessary for my personal evolution.
I believe I was still the “me” I am today, but at that time in my life, I had chosen to be complacent in several areas of my life. I was unsure of my future and the changes I was to undergo, and dealt with it in non-productive, non-transformative ways. Painting was one of the things I did right at that initial turning point and it proved to be a great tool for my growth.
My painting allows me not just to express myself, but explore my thoughts, fears, passions, purpose, etc. It also allows me to fulfill my connection to all life forms and view them with more than just aesthetic appreciation. I create with intention, just as I now live my life. (WOW it felt great to say that!) When I look back on how much painting has given me, I see it was a form of salvation. It still is in some respects. There are times when painting is therapeutic and in all times it is meditative, giving me the chance to be present with the paint, the water, the paper, and all the thoughts swirling in my head.
I can’t imagine myself taking another break from painting. I now recognize and appreciate my art as a part of me, just as I do my curly hair, my loud laugh, my short stature, and my analytical mind.