Friday, July 22, 2016

Let the Artist in You Come Out or Slow down and smell the flowers as my aunt always says

I was lucky or shall I say blessed or it was fate to be invited to join a group of people (artists) doing a study of The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron.  Yesterday I took the liberty to be decadent and treat myself to doing what I like best - laying out by the pool in the sun with a variety of books.  I chose to read The Artist's Way.  This month we are on Chapter 3.  The first task was to write about and even draw your childhood room.  Would you believe I have tears in my eyes right now.  My room was beautiful.  My mom always encouraged us to make beautiful things - gluing seashells on drift wood, covering glass bottles in tissue paper and melting crayons over it, decorating Christmas cookies to allowing us to rearrange the furniture.  I was always rearranging the furniture in my room.  

With some left over paint that was the wrong color for the kitchen, I painted the walls of my bedroom while my parents were at work.  I had to finish before they got home.  Boy, that was the wrong color for the kitchen - it was the brightest bubble gum pink.  In watercolor terms it was close to what Opera Rose looks like on the packaging of the tube.  I wasn't quite finished when my mom came home and found me and my siblings in my room hard at work painting.  She was alarmed, but didn't get mad.  So I continued on those summer days while my mom was at work to paint my room.  I painted the base board and a faux crown molding in a gorgeous satin blue as in a baby blue satin ribbon, an elegant silver baby blue.

I always wanted French doors so I turned my closet door into a French door by painting the panes of the door (a french blue) and beside it on the wall was the mate - opened out to my gorgeous garden.  First time to draw in perspective without even knowing the word perspective.  I painted a large grey stone patio with an iron table and two chairs and flowers that bordered the patio (later in life long after this was forgotten, I would have a large stone patio made of beautiful Pennsylvania blue stone, which was the same color of grey as in my mural).  A large green lawn and so many trees as if I lived on the edge of a forest.  Before the edge of the trees was a stream with a white swan peacefully and elegantly floating in the water.  A large raised terrace with a French balustrade was on the other side of the creek.  Of course, I painted a small wood bridge to cross over to the terrace's grand staircase where large parties with dancing under the stars took place.

If you were to see my yard now, it is covered with so many trees it is impossible to have grass grow.  I don't have a stream with a swan, but, there is a pool with a fountain and many bright colored floats.  And the flowers, the flowers! The pool is surrounded by perennials spilling over into the pool, the patio and pool deck are bordered with yellow lantana, blue salvia, pink salvia, pink and orange zinnias, dainty little white creeping zinnia, yellow mexican zinnia, purple and white heather and my favorite, Russian sage.  Six pots around the pool with Knock out rose topiaries and lavender and white verbena and scaviola spilling over the pots.  Red roses climb up the house with beautiful scented star jasmine.  Rosemary, mint and basil have a spot, too.  When I take a moment, I see the ladybugs, catepillars, butterflies, red cardinals and yesterday I saw a dragonfly sitting on a dying rose branch.  I did not run in to get my camera.  I chose to just stay and watch the dragon fly who did not seem to be doing anything but sitting on the branch.  Then I noticed my dog standing at one of the pots looking at me and telling me to look up.  In the topiary, a nest of 3 baby cardinals!!!!

The mural I painted as a child is a reality now.  It somehow came out over time through my subconscious.  Had I not read Chapter 3 of The Artist's Way, I would have never remembered that mural.  How did I get the idea for that mural?  A white swan?  One closet door turned into a French door, my current house has 10 sets of French doors.  This makes me so emotional.  I never intentionally intended on having French doors.  It seems as though this all just came about... or did it.  Is it that artist stuffed way down in there trying to come out?  It for sure makes me feel small and not in control.  It humbles me.  

So I never got to the point of letting the artist in you come out.  I have more to tell you... next time.  But, for now, this explains why I paint the butterflies and flowers.  The next time will be about my obsession with color.  For the meantime, whether you are an artist or not, do Task #1 of Chapter 3 in The Artist's Way:  Remember your childhood bedroom, write about what it looked like, even draw a picture.

the baby cardinals