September 4th, 2008

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All these days, weeks, months of painting with nothing of consequence happening. Then yesterday a break through. I played with the waterlily painting, tore off bits of paper, used gobs of white painting, scrubbed, nudged, shaped the painting like a clay sculpture: pushing and pulling the life out of it: working intuitively like a blind person feeling just what is ahead but not seeing the sum: Enjoying the process but wondering if I was making garbage.

Then because the tedious full sheet of Lunenburg is looming, I chose to finish up two paintings that have been sitting 90% done. One of chairs on a beach that I thought was perfection (for sure a new print etc). All those expectations sapped the life right out of the painting and of me. The other painting, a whimsical garden that I might have enjoyed or hated until one daughter said “But Mom, the flowers are way too big, the chair is way too small” and one best friend “A pink chair, It’s the pink chair that doesn’t work. Have you thought about red?” So now I have a dead chairs on beach and a too small red chair in a bunch of large flowers.

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Still procrastinating, I start scribbling the shape of a woman doing her laundry in South America. I watched her, photographed her, sketched her for four hours last February: as she knelt on the ground and scrubbed, as she squeezed and rinsed and then as she lay the clothes on a rock wall to dry. I didn’t think I got any one image that expressed her beauty: the way her shape and her work captured my heart. But yesterday while I was fighting the “have to” demons, I plucked a scrap of watercolour paper off my floor and although it was narrow, rolled, untapped--- a miracle happened. This it the joy, the satisfaction, the reason to continue painting. Occasionally due to hard work, or procrastination or some other nebulous reason: a creative person (me) becomes so worn out and discouraged from trying to control the creative process that they stop. When there is time and space for play, there is also time and space for miracles.