my . artist run website

Return to Broke-open Art Blog

Day 35


On Friday the artists FB page I belong to issued a challenge: 30 paintings in 30 days. It struck an immediate chord with me,... excitement first, then Fear. It's a familiar chord. Ever since, in 1985, when I was working for a non-profit in Kentucky at a youth center, I saw the little sign above the microwave (a big deal in 1985, purchased with funds from the haunted house we volunteers and staff put on) that read "Excitement is Fear turned inside out," this chord has shown up regularly in my life. Usually it's Fear then through some effort and letting go, the Excitement rings in. But this challenge struck the tone a bit differently. Fear took the second seat. So I had to do it.


Today was day one. I was coming off a weekend catering after a full week of prepping and painting a house, a cold that came at me with a vengeance and then this morning a wakening at 4 a.m. Yesterday due to the cold, I thought I'd get some rest, took half a Benadryl and napped for three hours. I am not really a napper. If bone-tired, I can do it and will. But not after noon. If I nap after noon, I can't get to sleep for equal number of hours napped after my usual bedtime. Just can't. But yesterday my head was so full of cotton (read snot) that I wasn't thinking clearly. I napped from 1-4. When I woke and realized what I'd done, I determined that another Benadryl would knock me out at my usual bedtime and tada. All would be good. Well, I was knocked out by 11 which was fine. But awoke at 4, WIDE awake and achy, three hours before my alarm would go off. Sigh.


ANYWAY,.... today was day one of the challenge. All of the above. Then went to work for 6 hours. Painted trim. Balanced with plugged ears on ladders. This was interesting. 3 Foot ladders, so, not too risky. Came home and stood before the easel. When I was in college (30 years ago) I heard a story about J.S. Bach. He apparently was asked once how he was so prolific in his writing. His answer was that every day before he put pen to paper or touched the keyboard, he said a prayer of thanksgiving for what was yet to be created. At that time I'd never heard of such a notion as gratitude for what was to be. My upbringing had taught me to petition God. Requests. Pleas for what was desired. This notion of premature thanksgiving was exciting. So today I stood before the easel and canvas and said my prayer of thanks to G.U.S.S. and began. That simple. I began. Then? I continued. It was wonderful and exciting and scary but while noticing the Fear, I listened to the Excitement. And out it came. The chord. The music of Fear and Excitement flowing outward. A beautiful song. 


The painting is not a masterpiece but I like it. I try to make a practice of painting crap from time to time just to keep the paints flowing. So, I had no expectations for this piece; and, happily, I like it. It is called, "Underneath it all" Oh, when we share these with the FB group we are supposed to say what we learned. Since this challenge is SO challenging and does relate to (multiple) fearS, I may post here some of what I learn for the next 30 days.. Today's lesson: to let go and to stop thinking so much.


As for the Fear Chair. I suddenly notice the motif on the seat is very similar to this painting. Hmmmm..... the chair is from above, a sunflower. This painting is from below, a field of sunflowers. Hmmmm. I've never painted sunflowers before. Hmmm..... What could this mean? Will have to ponder.


The other Fear Chair piece from today was a moment when I found myself encountering someone with much Fear. It was a challenging conversation and I found myself thinking, it'd be nice to be able to give the chair to someone who seems (IMO) to need it more than me. I don't mean it in a snarky way. I told a friend about this and I think she saw it as snarky. What I mean is that this Fear Chair is really sensitizing me to Fear and holicow am I seeing a lot of it around. Also, carrying it has helped me not be weighed down so much by my Fear(S) and I wish I could help people find ways to do this for themselves too. As I typed that last sentence, I realize it is odd that a Fear Chair does physically weigh me down but not nearly as much as Fear internalized used to (and still in many ways does, but am working on it). Could this also be a "excitement is fear turned inside out" moment? Wow. Who saw that coming?  So, by creating a physical symbol of my Fear, I've moved a portion at least or a perception of my Fear to outside of me. Inside to out. Hmmm....It works for me! How Exciting!