Often my husband will place an item on the table in front of me, ‘just for a few minutes’ while he does something… Usually several hours later some new creation rests on the table in place of the original item. I often wonder if he does it on purpose to sidetrack my day or if he just knows that I need some quiet time. Painting is and has always been an outlet for expression of my feelings or a quiet time of self-reflection for me. I lose myself in the landscape, in the world of the animal or object I am painting. Anytime I try to force creativity out of my mind or hands, the result is disastrous. If it just comes to me one day, the result is usually beautiful.
One day a friend of mine asked me if I could paint a picture of her dog for her on a mandela. Mandela’s are decorative shields; symbols of protection. I did not realize how important this was to her until the day that I was inspired to paint him sitting at the kitchen table with some crafting materials on the table in front of me. The leather thong (lace) was resting in a pile next to some beads, a box of feathers and some sticks which my husband was using to craft some drumbeaters. I asked him what he had done with the tops of the branches he had cut off. He told me that they were out on the side of the garage. I grabbed a scrap piece of leather and proceeded outdoors. Two hours later, I had a great sense of calm and achievement as the mandela hung completed from the china cabinet.
Two weeks later I saw my friend and she stopped dead in her tracks as she walked past the china cabinet and broke down into tears. I have since made 10 more to give to her family and friends in remembrance of ‘Axl.’ It is not only a great feeling to make someone so happy, although I didn’t want to make her cry; but also to be able to enjoy the process of creating the craft or painting in the first place.
I realized earlier tonight as I was getting really grouchy that it might be time for me to take out the paints again!