Last week I wrote about my Great Studio Clean Up. It was such a big, oddly significant thing. I was supposed to have done it in 2020, during the lockdown. At least, I intended to. Perfect time for that sort of project, right? I did not do a bit of it.
It was the lovely thing of painting that got me to do it.
All during the ten day Clean Up, I did not paint. Ugh. I so missed it! But I persisted with my project. After many days, I had enough space that I could go back to varnishing my finished paintings. Sacre bleu! Even just varnishing paintings, brushing on plain old clear varnish, I could feel a shift in my brain. It felt relaxing, pleasant, meditative. Ahh. Even that dull thing of varnishing felt so very nice.
Why? The Clean Up challenged my brain and body, but not like painting does. It was mentally tiring. Reading through things; rearranging; figuring out what to do about this or that; making all those decisions and judgments. Throw it away or keep it? Keep it where?? There was that one card that read, “I love you very much. David.” David? Who’s David?? I must be punished! Throw it away quickly! Don’t think of it again!
Painting takes me back to childhood. I love seeing the paint go on, the beautiful colors, the brush marks, the whatever-it-is texture showing through, the surprises. Especially when I’m starting a painting, it’s like a birthday party. It’s like my birthday party. I’m wearing the crown and I can do anything at all. I love getting paint on my fingers. I never did like glue, but paint is oh so much fun. I seem to have it permanently on my fingertips now, too, which makes me smile. And if I’m struggling with a painting and can’t get anywhere with it, I can just cover the whole thing with white and start over. La! I love that. There aren’t many things we do that allow for that. If your Thanksgiving turkey is dry or the cake falls, that’s it. Period.
So how lucky am I? Everyone doesn’t have a thing that does that for them, but many do. I see my neighbors with their gardens, having what I imagine is that same kind of joy. One of them gave me a pass on gardening, once I told her about my new love of painting and my reluctance to work on my disastrous flower bed. It’s a wonderful thing, having something you love to do, a beautiful, delicious, glorious thing. I hope you have something of your own, too.
“One must be serious about something, if one wants to have any amusement in life.”― Oscar Wilde
“A hobby is better than love.” ― Marty Rubin
“Count yourself blessed if you have something you love to do, but you are rarely able to do it because you’re too busy doing something else you love even more.” – Josh Steimle
“You have unlimited power on this canvas — can literally, literally move mountains.” ― Bob Ross
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Thanks for listening,
P.S. MerryThoughts is the name of my first book, out of print at the moment. The word is a British one, referring both to a wishbone and to the ritual of breaking the wishbone with the intention of either having a wish granted or being the one who marries first, thus the “merry thoughts.”