I’ve been singing this song since late 2016. Make art. Sing, paint, cook, sculpt or write. Knit something. Re-purpose some of the junk in your garage.
Just make art.
We need all the pretty we can get now.
Randy schooled me on art many years ago.
He’s not an art historian or anything.
He did study at the Tate in London and his teacher, a museum curator, put up a slide of a Flemish horse painting and asked, “what is it?” The overwhelming response was ‘a horse’. Next, he put up an abstract painting and asked the same question. According to Randy, the responses varied from “a mess” to “vomit”. The teacher put up both paintings side by side and said, “These two paintings are the same. They are nothing more than paint on canvas arranged in a way to create an illusion. This is obviously not a horse. It’s not alive. It doesn’t move or eat. It’s paint on canvas.”
That moment forever changed the way Randy viewed art. He was more open to different concepts and appreciative of a wide range of art.
I was not the same.
If I saw a picture hanging in a museum that was completely white with a single blue dot painted on it, I didn’t even bother to read about it. A blue dot? Okay then.
I was wrong.
In 1997, we visited the Cincinnati Contemporary Arts Center to see a Yoko Ono exhibit.
I was immediately dismissive.
We walked into a room and there were two large piles of rocks on the floor, surrounded by smaller piles of rocks. Again, okay then.
Randy had already read the text explaining the pile of rocks and asked me to read it. I did, but didn’t see how I could possibly change my mind that random piles of rocks and art are mutually exclusive.
The two rock piles were called “joy” and “sorrow”. The exhibit encouraged us to share our joy or to leave our sorrow by selecting rocks from either pile and creating our own.
I spent so much time sitting on the floor in the middle of that exhibit.
I made my own joy and sorrow rock piles.
I examined, smiled and cried over sharing happiness and pain with strangers I would never meet.
I changed my mind about art that day.
I used to beat myself up that I should have come around sooner. That I waited so many years with a small mind, but honestly, that is just a stupid waste of time. I was who I was and I am who I am.
I’m glad that Randy was able to give me my very own “paint on canvas” moment.
So, I’ve been coloring on furniture, which is my backdoor into meditation.
Quick side note: I had lunch yesterday with a young woman I work with. We made a deal to have lunch the first week of every month and we’ve stuck to that deal. I do so look forward to spending time with her. She told me yesterday that her therapist told her that people with moderate to severe anxiety usually can’t meditate. I could have cried. I beat myself up for years because I can’t fucking meditate. “Give it time” people said. And I did. Turns out, my brain can wait out anything and scoffed at my attempts to clear it.
When I spend hours drawing little circles or coloring in checker board patterns, it’s as close as I can get to meditating.
My mind certainly doesn’t clear, but my thoughts are less intrusive. It’s like “Yes, I see you and that is certainly troubling, but right now? I have to draw these little circles. I will worry about what we said to Andrea Marshall in 1973 later, okay?”
This is my latest project. I still have to complete the back of the shelf, but that will be awkward and difficult, so I am dragging my feet.
Anyway, I thought about my next project and at first, I thought I would do our two bedside tables. But then I thought, “Why don’t we go bigger?
I haven’t finished painting the inside of our new house. The office hasn’t been touched, other than quarter round has been laid down to cover up the disgusting gaps between the hardwood floor and baseboards.
Why don’t I just steal a whole wall for this? I mean, it’s only a little psychotic. And we can always Kilz over it.
I knew Randy would be a bit of a battle. We just bought this house and I am proposing coloring all over one wall with a marker which is behavior we spent years discouraging in our children.
We reached an agreement. I won’t do the whole wall.
Randy made an excellent point. I would have to spend a lot of time on a ladder with my arms extended. I have torn rotator cuffs and coloring at all makes them ache. Just regular painting the tops of walls put both of my shoulders in agony.
Instead, I am going to cordon off a 5′ by 5′ area and work within that. Maybe a little bigger. Then, we’re going to build a frame around it.
I can live with that.
Plan to make something pretty. And it’s all pretty.
We need art.
If your brain hurts and you have a hard time finding relief, try making art, it might soothe your brain. It works for me which is awesome, because usually I’m saying “yeah, that doesn’t really work for me”.