I swirled and painting and glazed and after many, many layers got it to a place where I was happy, but not satisfied.
I dug in. Deeper. Adding a hint of green. A splash of white. A sprinkle of gold dust.
It was the gold dust that got me.
It was too much. Too shiny. Too chintzy. Too cute.
I painted over it. More swirls of blue and burgundy. It wouldn’t disappear. (Thanks alot Martha Stewart – your gold dust won’t be repressed. Sorta like you!)
I added a door. A bird.
That just made it look ridiculous.
I had to make the decision. What to do, what to do?
I sighed. I hemmed. I hawed. I avoided.
I worked on another painting. And still it called to me. This 36″ x 36″ canvas that had evolved from ‘not bad, I kinda like it’ to, “OMG. I need to give up painting. I have no talent. I am a hopeless amateur.”
I kept going. On another painting. I liked this one. It reminded me of the most important thing that both writing and painting have taught me — Trust In The Process.
I decided to paint over it.
White gesso splashed everywhere. I let the original painting become the under coating. I left parts of the blue exposed. There was no way to remove the textures now, so I left them as they were. Ridges of swirls, raw cotton pulp that was the body of the bird exposed.
And then, I began to trust in the process. I let the canvas speak to me and “He” appeared.
At first, TZ, one of my painting cohorts said, “It looks like Stephen Harper.”
I am a Liberal. No way can one of my paintings look like… him.
I kept working it.
Jesus Christ? Is that who you see? And at one point, it was, Jesus with his crown of thorns. But the face was too broad. He didn’t have a beard. And anyway, I originally saw him as a she — and was still kinda going for the feminine, even as the masculine kept revealing itself more and more with every brush stroke.
I kept going.
And the Shaman kept appearing.
Until last night when I sent my eldest daughter a photo of him and she text back. “Is John Travolta speaking to you?”
Seriously? How did he get into my painting?
“He must be speaking to you in your dreams,” she quipped.
ha! If Johnnie T. was speaking to me what would he say? Greased Lighting?
“I got chills / They’re multiplyin’ / And I’m losing control / Cause the power you’re supplying / It’s electrifyin’.”
Or maybe in my dreams he’d be screaming in my ear, “Dance baby dance!”
I hear you John Travolta.
Dance baby dance.
And so I dance with paint brush and colour. I throw my body into the air. I leap into the canvas. I dance.
I dance with the sun and the moon. The stars and the sand. I dance at the edge of the waters of life flowing ever through me. I dance with life.
And in my dance I let go of controlling the process and give into the joy that rises up within me as I give myself up and trust in the dance.
Thank you John Travolta.
Thank you Alexis.
Thank you the sun and the moon and the stars and the sand. Thank you Life. What a dance!