A few pics from our amazing yoga retreat in Joshua Tree led by Pete Guinosso this May.
I used to paint.
However, in 2007 I brought my beloved easel to my classroom to hold posters instead of the creative process. It was a simple wooden thing, and was used widely and well. By May of 2008, it was out of commission. In the world of art it seemed, so was I!
For my move to California a few months later, I sold a few items and gave away more; large and small. Carefully, I wrapped my last large, bare canvas in a towel, and packed it gently into a box for the journey, as well as my blue, sticker-covered tacklebox of paints, inks, brushes, pastels, chalk, pencils, erasers, tape, glue sticks, old pins and other random items accumulated since that first art class in college.
Perhaps there was still hope for the artist crushed, within.
Most of my personal affects that made the cut are residing in a storage unit, biding time until our next move and sure round of cuts. The tacklebox however, is kept near my sewing kit in our living room, as they are roughly the same size and both accessed often. Somehow that canvas, too, made it into our home, and each time I organize, I move it somewhere new, admiring its bright wash of possibility. Make a mark on it? I do not.
As I type, it occurs to me that perhaps my artist within had tossed out a flotation device for me to hold onto until I reached a new shore.
That is a comforting thought.
I remember a mural I created at my first post-college workspace; it was of a couple in a canoe on Eklutna Lake surrounded by spruce trees, mountains, and an eagle soaring above a rainbow and puffy white clouds. It brightened up the cottage until one of the youths lost control of his behavior. Then I painted each of the ‘cubbies’ in the entryway directly onto the wood. That paint wasn’t coming off anytime soon.
My favorite paintings are of photographs that I love. One is of tulips that look like ice cream taken from a birthday camping trip with my friend Monique up in the Skagit Valley in Washington, another is of a photo of my mother holding me when I was about a year old; we were both laughing, mouths wide open, at my dad.
Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on the receiver’s perspective, I’ve given away each painting I’ve created. Often the recipient is in mind before I begin the project.
I am under no illusion that my completed paintings are any monumental, world-changing pieces; but the entire process of bringing them into being, revitalizing a moment into life, meditating upon each stroke, can be described as none other than an immersion in love.
We spent a weekend in San Diego at the end of March, and strolled about fields and fields of ranunculi in a vibrant array of colors. A tug pulled at my heart. In Joshua Tree, the May desert was all abloom. There was another tug.
I wanted to paint again.
Besides a wedding gift, inspired from spirit itself, could it be that the last painting I had created was from a 4×6 photo taken in my pre-digital days?
I think so.
Last week, I opened my tacklebox with new eyes. I lined up my brushes, set out the acrylics, and conducted a general catalog. On a sticky note, I wrote: brushes, small canvases, palette. The paint I had would have to do; I would purchase more as required.
I hopped on down to the neighborhood art store armed with a 20% off coupon and purchased a handful of new brushes, a palette just like the one I had before, ten tiny art cards, five 5×5, and five 6×8 canvases to begin again upon.
And upon our return from Chicago; noon-ish on a clear blue day, I did.
(Art in process! Had to toss a couple colors, a few had the texture of marshmallows, but were useable, and a few were just right… As far as painting from photos, now I have to have them converted to prints!)