I have not been painting. Or creating art of any sort of late.
Between crippling boughts of depression, and exhaustion from working full time, I haven't been able to find the time, or gather the inspiration to create.
I am dreaming of a world where art is not devalued, and artists are free to pursue their passion without their work being similarly devalued. Until then, of course, I will continue to work full time and create when I can, if I can.
An opportunity was brought to my attention by good friend and fellow creative T.V. It's called the Global Roots Project. I was told the bare minimum when T.V. approached me about it:
Simply put, a group of artists will send you the necessary items to create a small assigned-colour painting, which will in turn become a tile in a much larger mosaic. This mosaic will be created with paintings from all over Canada. This will be the Canada Connects National Mural.
You can check out more about it here.
The idea immediately caught me. The moment I heard about it, I readily agreed. And then I started having dreams - dreams of the colour blue, and dreams of the image I would paint.
Happily, T.V. acquired three colours - red, blue and green - and gave me the choice. She was also not so attached to the colour my brain had latched onto, and I was granted my request. The blue set was mine.
It arrived last week, and I immediately set to work.
The first order of business was to sketch out the very basic idea of what had been in my dreams onto the canvas. It came quickly and relatively easy, and I had my underlying sketch in a matter of moments.
Work commitments meant I had to wait for the weekend before settling in to paint. I managed to make some time on Saturday afternoon, and I sat down for a few hours to try and bring what was in my head onto the canvas.
It had been so long since I had sat down to paint that I had forgotten how meditative the process is. Time meant nothing as I put pigment onto canvas board. It was glorious. I had forgotten just how wonderful it was to file away the world and create. It's something that I can sometimes achieve with writing, though less so now that I can only write for an hour a day at lunch time.
One of my many failings in the creative process is my terrible perfectionism. It was and continues to be my biggest blockage when it comes to creation. This time, I made a decided effort to let that go.
Every time my thoughts unconsciously strayed to how terrible the painting was going, I would consciously dismiss the thought. I would continue painting. Eventually, all thought faded. There was just me, my ever-present shadow (my cat, Galahad), and the painting.
I made a glorious mess. There was paint all over my drafting table, all over my hands and arms, my apron, even my phone.
It felt so good to get back to painting. The mess was not stressful, as messes can often be, but glorious and satisfying.
Participation in this project reignited the spark that had been missing for so long. It fed me the inspiration and creative drive that had all but been drained from me by, well, life. I now have many ideas about paintings I want to do. I will see if I can be disciplined enough, and if I could make the time to actually create.
The end result of this little piece of participation was actually one of the best things I've done to date. It is one of the very few pieces of mine that looks very close to the image I had inside my head.
I can't wait to see what the final mural will look like, and I'm well pleased to know that somewhere in the final thing, my little tile will be there - a small contribution in an enormous pool of talent from across Canada.
This project was exactly what I needed. I will definitely be participating again next time.