Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Step Thirteen: Play!

Dear Fi,

I am not sure why “stuff” happens the way it happens in my life right now. I feel drained of all of my life’s juices. I dream about freedom from almost everything. Things didn’t go smooth lately on this side of the globe. I think it started with my mom’s broken hand, which stopped her from coming here to help me when I needed her the most. Last week she finally got here but her right hand will need at least couple of months to be able to do the simplest motions, so we are both trying to be patient. Then, during the Easter we had a sudden death in the family, and some unexpected hospitalizations, so the air became very heavy, and it was really hard to breath. My problems with finishing my paper on time were so unimportant and worrying about everything else didn’t make sense. Life just stopped for a moment and every time the phone rang I was scared to answer.

Finally, yesterday I said “enough”. People are coming and going and I cannot stop or change this. The only thing I can do is to change how I react, and what I do when life brings these uneasy to swallow lessons. So, against all the odds I decided to paint something happy and playful.

A few weeks ago I bought a painting board - I wanted to try a new medium. Then a few days ago I saw how my daughter painted and I couldn’t stop watching her. I was in awe, but I also felt a little jealous for her freedom and confidence, for the joy she emanated while mixing her colours and applying them on paper. She had so much fun Fi. Her behaviour blew me away, as well as her paintings. The one below is my favourite, and it has become an inspiration for today’s project.

The process of painting this piece was hilarious. Dear Fi, I know that I won’t be able to recreate it for you, but at least I will try to give you a sense of how it went.

After I applied a white background to my painting board I chose some “happy” colours and started to paint with my left hand. As soon as I started I could hear a part of me screaming: “NO!!!”, so I tried to tune in and I imagined that I was witnessing the right hand/left brain vs. left hand/right-brain conversation, which went like this:  

LH: ah! i love that pink, so sweet :)
RH: What is going on here? Who chose these colours!!!
LH: oh! look at this yellow, i love yellow, it is such a sunny coulour!
RH: We don’t use yellow!!! Never - ever! Tell her - we don’t use yellow!
LH: la, la, la, love the surface, so smooth, i don’t need a brush i will use my fingers :)
RH: Stop it!!! Give me back that brush!!! I am in charge. I am in charge here!!!!
LH: wow! so much fun :)
RH: Somebody do something. She ruined everything!!! We need to post today! This is so unprofessional!!! I cannot stand this!

Yes, something like that. At some point I noticed that my right hand was holding a brush, and believe me Fi, I didn’t know when it happen and how? So it was funny, because it really felt like a fight over the brush and coulours. My “playful side” wanted to have fun and enjoy the process while my “serious side” wanted to control and dictate every step because she was worried about the end effect. However, the longer I painted the easier it went. My right hand relaxed and she started to use her fingers instead of the brush. It really was a great process for me. I enjoyed it, the whole journey, and I finished my project with a smile.

At one point my mom came downstairs and said: “O! You are painting with your hands? I could do this too”. So I said, “I will buy more boards and the next time we will paint together”. Then my husband came home from work and when I showed him the painting he started to laugh and said: “What is this? I can paint like this too”. I don’t think he realized that it was a compliment for me. I wanted this painting to be playful and bright. I knew I’m not a child anymore, and that it is very hard for adults to paint a child-like art. What comes so natural to children takes a lot of effort for adults unless... they can tap into their playful source, their inner child - an expert of all playfulness, fun, and creativity.

You can say Dear Fi, that it is not a child’s painting but I hope you can also see that I had fun while “working” on today’s project.



After the disaster last week I promised myself to start doing my projects on Monday, to be sure that I can finish on time. It is not less crazy on Monday than it was on Tuesday though. However, the point for posting here every week was to keep going even if disasters happen, even if it’s crazy and busy and whatever. So, I expected that the time will come when I will ask myself “Why do you must post every Tuesday???” or “Do you really think it matters?” or “Is this really THAT important for you?”. Honestly, I thought I would ask these questions earlier but somehow I didn’t for the first eleven weeks ha, ha.

So, last week I had an idea but I couldn’t make it. Instead I posted a bunch of photos which were supposed to be postcards but I wasn’t able to finish what I had started. So I decided to post what I had instead of posting nothing. I though that you would forgive me, and nobody comes here anyway to judge so it wasn’t that bad after all ha, ha ;) I already read your post so I see that you are going through similar stuff, but at least you wrote your post!!! Mine was supposed to be incorporated to those postcards, and I really couldn’t do more than I did last Tuesday. However, I still think about finishing what I had started, so I decided that after I finish this semester (one more paper, and one more presentation) I will come back to these photos and I will show you what I meant by “postcards from nowhere”. I think I will just update my twelfth step under what is already posted, so it won’t be cheating, and at the same time I won’t make another post with the same pictures. I’m not sure if this is clear and when it will happen, but I promise you - it will. So, when you finally finish with your shelf you can update your post too with a picture of your accomplishment - I would love to see it :)

1 comment:

  1. Gah! So much to say about this post, I don't know where to begin. :-)

    First - I love the concept. I adore how you took your daughter's painting and attitude as inspiration. It's amazing how similar and yet how different the two end results were - both in finished product and emotions experienced throughout the process. I wonder when exactly it is, that your daughter's right hand side of the brain will become more vocal than her left... (as ours, as adults, has already done) and just how much education and society affects that...? We're more in control of our reaction to it than we think - I'd never stopped to think about it before. Which is why I love this post. Anyway - like I said - you've given me so much to think about and say!

    I can really imagine a weekly project, where you do diptychs with your daughter - your paintings beside hers! I wonder what one would discover, doing it on a weekly basis. :-)

    I'm glad you took the time to play this week. Especially with everything that is going on. I hope you're all managing to cope with it - it seemed like so much all at once. Which is what makes it so inspiring that you sat down to play, regardless. I just wasn't in any space yesterday where I thought I could do that... but you proved me wrong! It's all about perspective. No matter how busy or complicated life gets, we have control of our minds and what we apply them to.

    Your internal dialogue made me laugh! It's so true. Especially the last bit for me - the 'this is so unprofessional, we need to post today'. Except, I think this is my attitude generally to myself and art / being creative. These days it's about posting, but before for me, it was just generally, "other people will see this as me wasting time". Although, it all depends on who you ask for their opinion, I suppose! I'm sure an artist would never say it is a waste of time. I know a lot of other people that would... although, their opinion seems less relevant now...

    Oh - so much to say. I'm rambling now. Anyway! Thank you for such an honest, bright and clever post. It's really got me thinking! I think I should try this hand painting! :-)