I’ve missed all of you, and I know some of you have been worried about me. So here’s the truth–I’ve been grieving for my cousin and dearest friend, Mary Ann, who left us last November 5. Add this sorrow to years of constant work, the process of downsizing and very little ‘me’ time, and you have a case of burnout worthy of the record books. Sometimes, we have to cross these long, dark valleys of the soul, all of us, though I was fortunate, I think, to enter my sixth decade before encountering a trail as dark as this one has been. There were times when I could not see my figurative hand in front of my face, times when even My Very Best Friend seemed far away, or just plain disinterested.
In short, this time has been painful to the inth degree.
I have been blessed. Friends and family have been there for me in so many ways. It’s true what they say about hard times; you DO find out who your real friends are. In my experience, it turned out to be every last person I know.
I’ve learned some tremendous lessons, and while I wouldn’t want to repeat the course, I am better and stronger for it, and thankful, too.
My pups, Tule and Mowgli, along with my sweet kitty, Wiki, have been loving companions throughout. They taught me that the simplest things are the most important.
I’ve found some wonderful books and new (to me) philosophies, such as Access Consciousness, a life-changing way of thinking that has already worked miracles for me, and promises many more. More on that in later blogs.
And, oh, the discoveries I’ve made.
YouTube, for example. Yes, YouTube.
Of course I’d seen the cute-kitty videos, like everyone else, but until the roof fell in, YT was pretty much a non-factor, as far as I was concerned.
One day, I tuned in, looking for a way to clean my Keurig machine, which had clogged for the umpteenth time, (and has since been jettisoned, replaced by a much less troublesome Mr. Coffee), and I did some browsing. I’ve always been interested in art, so I hopped around a little, impressed by staggering creativity of ordinary people in all parts of the world, and I came across a thumbnail for Acrylic Pouring.
Huh? Acrylic what? It sounded messy (trust me, it its), and more time passed before I decided to explore the topic fully.
At some point, for whatever reason, my curiousity was peaked by the work of a guy named Rick Cheadle. Here he was, a regular fellow, working out of his garage in Detroit, layering different colors of paint in paper cups, then tipping it onto canvas.
The effect, for me, was beyond magical. It was like that moment in the movie, “The Wizard of Oz”, when color suddenly floods the screen, washing away the blacks and the grays. It took my breath away, watching that, and I couldn’t (still can’t) get enough of the spectacle. I still watch Rick, along with a number of other favorites: Rio Saress, AnnMarie Ridderhoff, Ann Osborne, Myriam of Myriam’s Nature, and many, many more.
Each of these artists have been, and continues to be, my teacher, and not just in the use of color, etc. One casually asked a question that spilled light into my mind–“What else is possible?” Eventually, she mentioned Access Consiousness–I had never heard of it, but I was intrigued, since I loved the simple question she’d presented. I explored the topic and was astounded by what I found.
But this blog is about re-discovering the joy of art, this time, in a whole new way. Fortunately, I already had tons of art supplies, and I began–very tentatively–to experiment.
I was fascinated, though I certainly had my share, if not more than that, of–shall we say?–non-masterpieces. Today, I’m darned good, if I do say so myself, and I’ve even sold a couple of pieces, but in art, as in writing or any other creative endeavor, one must be willing to be very, very bad, usually for a very, very long time, in order to become proficient. Yes, the videos of my favorite YT artists are springboards, contantly inspiring me with new methods and products, but it’s the sloppy, day-to-day effort of practice that develops an interest into an actual skill. I still have so much to learn, especially where color and composition are concerned, and that’s okay. In fact, that’s life in general. Slogging along. Showing up. Taking risks. Delighting in simple joys, like happy dogs playing in the backyard. A friend’s hug.
Like color, spilling onto a canvas. My friends, there’s a reason for the term ‘art therapy’. Art fills the gray places with dazzling magentas, dizzying turquoises, glimmering golds.
I’m still a little fragile, still feeling my way forward a lot of the time, but I’m here, with all of you, and more grateful for your concern and support than you will ever know.