Time is a thing that can slip away easily or be filled with things that seem inadequate or unfulfilling. Aren’t we all trying to address that in some way? How often do we find ourselves doing things we have to do rather than things we want to do? It’s easy to fall into this trap and feel resentful at having no energy left to do the things we like.
One of my happiest times was as a child spending hours in my bedroom, in the living room or out in the garden drawing. I’d copy pictures from books or comics, not having the confidence to do anything ‘from my head’. My art teacher at the time got really annoyed with me at my refusal to paint, as I said ‘I can’t’ and obstinately stuck to my pencils, while he said ‘you can’. We’d had a partly open extension built behind the garage and I remember setting myself up with some new poster paints and attempting to conjure something aesthetically pleasing, which ended up as a series of messy blobs.
In my bedroom, as a teenager, I would kneel at the windowsill (old house… low windows) and write poems. I’d draw little pictures to accompany them. I listened to music and I daydreamed, and the daydreams inevitably transformed themselves into pieces of writing or pictures.
If we want to find out who we are, and what makes us happiest of all, those are the times we should go back to, to rediscover what gave us joy in our childhood. It’s not easy to re-arrange our adult lives to accommodate these things, but we really, really should.
In the last couple of weeks I’ve been working on finding a balance between teaching, writing and painting. Crucially, for me, it has to be one which means I’m not putting pressure on myself (that takes out all the fun!) and one which means I can absorb myself in each activity, but be prepared to let go of each too so that I can pursue the other. So I have been doing around 2 hours writing, 2 hours painting, a day… I say ‘around’ because sometimes it’s been a bit more, sometimes less, and have just finished this painting, ‘The Walk’.
It’s acrylic on canvas and I really do love it, and loved doing it. I have also had a moment of realisation as to why this balance of painting and writing is so important to me. Writing is a very cerebral thing involving lots of thinking (sometimes to the point of brain ache), whereas painting is sensual – it is in the mind’s eye and is tied up with emotion. I don’t think when I paint, I feel.
I have already drawn out my next painting, ‘Cloud Gazing’, and will let you have a peek when it’s finished. I intend to do a few and hopefully sell them. In fact, I have a buyer for ‘The Walk’ already, which is completely wonderful! Maybe I should have listened to my art teacher sooner!