sunflower palette knife oil painting

For months I had been creating work for the Big Easel outdoor art show in Lafayette, Louisiana. When a bride randomly emailed and asked me to paint at her Lafayette wedding the day before the show, I thought it was fate– Lafayette and I were going to have a serendipitous, art-filled weekend.

Turns out my aging Honda CRV can’t exactly hold 50+ paintings and the gear I needed for the live wedding painting (I’m not sure a u-haul could either). In my excitement over the stars aligning to deliver me to the same location for two different events, I neglected to consider the logistics. After a few days agonizing over making two trips vs. renting a commercial van, I realized the thunderstorm looming in my weather app was indeed going to be a reality. The Big Easel was cancelled and moved to the following weekend, but I was already booked for a live event on the new day and had to cut my losses (no refunds included) on the whole show.

It rained hard. When I made it home after the Lafayette wedding, my yard resembled a swamp. Sticks and branches littered the lawn. In my last post, I wrote about nature being a reassuring metaphor. This time it’s been less rebirth-out-of-the-ashes and more thunderstorm-on-my-parade. Truthfully, it’s been raining on the inside, too. I’ve had some hard conversations with people I love that have made me think hard about how I treat others. Additionally, some financial missteps along the way left tax day feeling very much like a punch in the gut. If we’re sticking with the nature metaphors, I’ve got some growing to do– personally, professionally, you name it.

Last Monday, blog day, I skipped a post altogether because I couldn’t quiet the little rain cloud inside which has led to this recurring internal question: what do you do when it rains?

After a week of thinking about it, I’ve come up with an answer. I make art, of course. Sometimes after some lamenting and sometimes during. Sometimes right after trying to ignore troubles that won’t go away and sometimes immediately. But I always do it. Art, and not always as in big, elaborate paintings, but often more like quiet, primitive drawings or just lines in a worn out sketchbook. It got me to the other side of divorce, quieted my sleep-deprived mind when it was worn out from the cries of a perpetually fussy baby, and taught me that I can make and change things. Lines, sure. But decisions, paths, healthier choices, too.

Making tangible lines helps me redirect the less physical aspects of my life– my hopes, purpose, ambitions, focus, goals. In the past couple of weeks I’ve redirected some of my intentions in my personal relationships, and I’ve come up with a rain plan for all the work I didn’t get to show at the art market for which I’d spent months preparing.

I’m going to release all the new paintings on my site this Friday, April 27. Everyone on my email list will get a discount on their purchase (I’ll be sending out the coupon code the night before the release). When life gives you very real lemons, make virtual lemonade, I suppose.

I’m also toying with the idea of creating a short ebook centered on ways to use art as a means to access our thoughts, feelings, gratitude, fears, etc. I’m not a therapist. I just know what has helped me through some pretty stormy weather, and I think it might be worth sharing. Please let me know in the comments or via email if you have any interest.