Yes, I know it is NaNoWriMo time, and by today I should have a few thousand words written, and who knows by tomorrow I might be headed straight into some fictional dysfunction that pulls me into a whole cast of characters, but for the last few nights, with the uncommonly warm temps, I’m just too happy to still be out in the garage studio dragging my brushes across and up and down with all the colors that just hit me right.
Summer allows for the garage door to be open to the light and heat blasting in full force adding to the carefree studio vibe I like best. I often have no real plan before I pick up a brush, instead allow the piece to speak to me. Inspiration comes as it does with movement and color. Other times it lingers so I sit on the stool and just take in the view. Somedays it’s all about the myriad of blues I can blend, other days straight up orange rules. You just never know what will kick off a painting session. But that’s the very definition of inspiration, isn’t it? Could be a spark or flash or sorrow or pain or image or song or laugh or cry. You just never know. The only real surety is to have a brush and paint on the ready, and get straight to discovery. Beyond that any surface with suffice. “There are no rules. That is how art is born, how breakthroughs happen. Go against the rules or ignore the rules. That is what invention is about.” – Helen Frankenthaler
If there is but one gift that 2020 brought to our small spinning globe, it is a real understanding of the transient nature of life. We have stood witness as industry and commerce and worship and governance and every aspect of our daily existence stalled. Death came calling too. To date COVID-19, something we had never heard of a short year ago, has extinguished 1.97 million lives: from your family to those in Mexico, from Iran to India, from China to the White House, COVID disrupted our every interaction and halted our every routine. Reflecting on 2020, I shudder to think of how much wine I consumed, how rarely I put on leather shoes to go do something professional, instead how many hours I doom-scrolled, fretted or cried or spent angry. Eager to hold onto our fleeting and magnificent lives despite all the restrictions, we retreated into our homes, and over the ensuing months began to read poetry and fiction again, used our phone to call friends, dreamt outlandishly about the future and recalled our best memories fondly, and even created something like love from that swirling ball of fear and chaos and forced void. We found, as Dickinson so aptly wrote, “Hope” is the thing with feathers.