Every now and then, there comes a day that drives me to my knees. Today I became immersed in a moment of pure weakness and pain. Many times when I find myself there, I take to writing and when words fail me; painting.
I had hidden away in my bedroom which I have made great pangs in creating my perfect retreat. A bed cover of the sunniest yellow covered in soft pillows, a trickling fountain sitting nearby and around several blank canvases waiting to be used. No matter how I tried to hide within my area, I couldn’t retreat. I tried to take great care to put on a happy face for my kids, but they are intuitive.
“Momma, why are you sad?”
“Sometimes adults get sad, baby.”
“Well, you need to be happy. You need to go paint.”
Deciding to take that as an order and not a suggestion, I grabbed a pencil and my sketch pad to try out some rough drawing before committing in to watercolor. About this time my soon-to-be-ex called to ask if there was anything I needed. I joked and said I was feeling bad, about to paint but it was going to take a lot more canvases to get this worked out. He laughed and asked if 15 was enough. Not nearly, but it will do.
After he dropped them off, I put away my sketch pad and decided to just paint what was in my mind.
A virtual forest of birch trees stabbed through the landscape, but stopped short of a clearing. Not intruding on the space, but not permitted to dwell there. Fields of lush grass began to form in the foreground dotted with vibrant purple flowers covering all shades. A simple sidewalk pierced through the grass and ended where I hoped to draw the inviting front porch of a home. I couldn’t seem to grasp the house and its comfort close enough to portray it so I just let the sidewalk end there.
The trees began to look off a little in their presence, so I began to brush a split log fence. Separating the landscape and providing shelter to the fragile purple flowers that gathered along where the sidewalk broke off. Bold strokes of shades of brown gave the fence a look of strength, but after it was completed I paused to see what my mind had decided. The fence seemed necessary at the time, but it broke apart and separated what was beautiful.
I’ve placed the canvas in my retreat and have stopped several times through my day to look at where my brush strokes of happy took me. There is no doubt that the painting is beautiful as a whole, but the separation of the fence is unwelcome. I believe that sometimes in a moment of emotion we feel that those fences are needed. They provide an illusion of protection from the trees that threaten to crowd what was there. Sometimes our sidewalks end and never make it to the comfort of a home’s porch. The only portion of the painting that draws me in and catches my eye is the tiny purple flowers that gather around the fence posts and crumbled concrete. Their presence gives me comfort even if their fragrance can’t be smelled. As I stare at their tiny petals, I know that this is where I want to linger. This is where my brush strokes of happy found me.