Sunday, March 29, 2009

One Month Down




What a great weekend! I enjoyed instructing a great class of artists on Saturday at the Minden Opera House. Those folks accomplished a great amount of learning in just a few hours, and I admire their willingness to jump right in and get to work. The Opera House is a terrific place for workshops (hint hint) and it appears that people around that part of the state are eager for the opportunity. (More hint hint.)

This Monday, Mavis and I begin our fifth week of daily painting. This idea of finishing a painting every day has been around for about 4 or 5 years. Today there are hundreds of artists taking on the challenge of showing up at their easel every single day and completing a painting or project every...single...day.
(Please note, I asked, begged and pleaded for weekends off. My idea, not Mavis'.)

By Friday, the 20th day of our project, I was sucking wind. Seriously. Who knew? Who knew that those mere 5 x 7 paintings would take so much out of me? If you've been paying attention, you know that the compositions aren't that complicated. The size is not overwhelming. So why am I bent over gasping for breath?
It's because I'm showing up. Every day, rain or shine, busy or not, I'm there. You're waiting to see what I've promised I'll do. I'm thinking, really hard, and I'm learning. And learning, at least for me, is exhausting. I mean, those brain cells are vibrating faster than they have in a long, loooooong time.

So . . . what have I learned since my last post on the subject?

It can be summed up in three words: just for now.

A very smart lady told me this once. Just for awhile, do it. Not for a month or a year or a lifetime, but just for now. Don't paint the 80th or the 90th piece, just paint the one in front of me. I don't have to get all anxious that for the rest of my life I'll be up in my studio, like Rapunzel in her tower, painting all day and missing out on everything fun that's going on. Just for now I will focus on one small canvas-covered board and enjoy the task. When today's piece is done, it's done. This simple thought quiets my mind and allows focus. My heart, all a-quiver with anxiety over the thought of another painting, calms and slows. I'm doing this one painting, now. Not forever. Now.

Once this sunk in I feel stronger and more capable about this project. Last week I was imagining all kinds of excuses, really good excuses, for not being able to keep up with this commitment. You know, the dog ate my canvas, I'm just toooo bizzzzzy, I have to iron handkerchiefs...
Tonight I'm looking forward to starting day 21. Afterall, those handkerchiefs get all wadded up anyway, and we don't have a dog, and that other stuff can wait.

For now.

2 comments:

Nancy and the fatties said...

Patty - way to go intrepid painter! tackle all those little canvases. You are already a masterpainter, so I am eager to see what on earth would be "the next level" for you!
ps - if you need a dog, I have three very fat ones who love to visit people unannounced.
xxxooo

NICOLE STRASBURG said...

You're inspiring Patty. It makes me gasp at the thought of feeling tethered to my easel for 100 days. What a wonderful challenge to see what would come up emotionally, psychologically, and within the context of your work and how it progresses over those 100 committed days. Bravo.