Since I’ve been painting less and less at weddings and events, I’ve changed the model for my at-home painting. This marks the third month in a row that I’ve put out a small series of paintings on my website. It’s a change and sometimes a challenge, but I firmly believe it’s worth celebrating.
Since the start of my painting career over six years ago, I have repeatedly whispered these words to myself: “make a mark.” This mantra is a reminder to physically create art– putting colors on blank surfaces, but even more, it reminds me not to hide myself from the world in fear or insecurity but to confidently engage with it. The marks we make become part of the world, and I have learned that I don’t have to be perfect to be part of something beautiful.
The collection released this morning is called “Celebration, ” and is an invitation to celebrate that which might otherwise come and go without much notice– small kindnesses we can show ourselves, the ability to notice and engage and stand in awe of, even the sadnesses we can let sit with us for a spell. Even those can connect us deeply.
The painting that I soon thought of as the “cover” image for the entire series, happened late in the process. I started it early on, but by the time I went to photograph it for the site, I saw two thousand things requesting (maybe demanding?) revision. “Just make a mark,” I whispered as I changed the entire background, and added a field of thickly painted flowers below the figure’s marching feet. Big changes like that don’t always work out, but this time they did. This painting encapsulates the spirit of celebration that has informed the entire group of paintings.
Another painting in the series appeared almost magically. It began as a figure study of a man playing trumpet, but before the paint was dry, I scraped it all off and replaced it with a goldfinch atop a flower– a complete change this time but one that started to emerge effortlessly and with some of the same spirit as the original painting.
Of course, there are still my little birds on tiny canvases– my go-to images for remembering to notice, to be amused and surprised by the world around me. My backyard (and my feeder) is not so small that the little visitors to it cannot teach me about the universe.
I could write a blog entry for each new painting (and maybe I eventually will) but I’ll leave it at this for now. I would love if you would check out the new paintings and let me know what you think. Even more than that, I’d love to know what unexpected joys you are celebrating today.