“Tiny Dancer” 6×6, oil on canvas Buy Now

Now that I’m on my fifth daily painting challenge ever, I think I’d classify day 8 as the day I find my rhythm. If everything before that feels anxiety ridden and a little self conscious, day eight feels wonderfully ordinary. This day eight in particular because yesterday I was moving my patio furniture and bird feeders to the shed for safe keeping should hurricane Nate’s winds have decided to make an unwelcome appearance. I went for a run at about 6pm and my shirt got a little damp from the occasional rain drizzle, but I’m not sure there was even that as we slept through a night when Nate was supposed to make landfall. I’m still waiting to see how my Mississippi coast friends fared as they were much more in his path.

I have a handful of people who are doing this 31 day challenge with me, one of whom is coloring from an adult coloring book every day this month. She shares with our group her thoughts about each page she colors, and yesterday she wrote this:

This evening I’m angry with Katrina. When my brother and I were kids, our parents would buy the supplies, board the windows, turn on Nash Roberts. My brother and I would play in the streets despite wind and rain and pretend to be newscasters reporting the latest. The video camera would come out. As we got older, my family would go to the lakefront to watch the waves crash over the sea wall. Now when a hurricane gets mentioned I panic. And I hate it. I hate that I feel like Katrina stole that happy childhood memory and that my kids won’t have that panic-free, stress-free hurricane prep of my childhood.

I feel my friend’s pain. Hurricanes and hurricane prep will never be the same. Even a category one brings a panic I have to be intentional about quieting.

I’m still thinking about music a lot, particularly the way it brings people together at times of joy and perhaps even more poignantly during times of grieving. I’m working on other music paintings, but I had to put them aside for day 8 and paint what I think is a pretty lyrical egret. I tried very hard to bring what I’ve learned from my music paintings into this painting. I wanted to let every single brush stroke show. I used to paint with rapid, often aimless strokes– their individual importance diminished by their sheer quantity. Think of a toddler banging on pots in pans in a kitchen. Now I’m going for slower, more thoughtful and intentional strokes– ones I hope will remain even when the painting is done. I’m not quite at symphony, but I like to believe I’ve graduated from plan ‘ole noise. 

If you’ve been doing the 31 challenge with me, what has day 8 brought you? Are you finding your rhythm? Does the effort feel less strained? 

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