backward canvas

I am working on a painting for our newest Gallery exhibit. It’s called Home, and the painting is an oil rendition of a watercolor I had done as a meditation on the word Home. I love that meditation practice, as it brings so many things to the forefront of the mind that were buried in the subconscious. Creativity unleashes miraculous insights for me. I lament the years I lost to non-creative (non)living, but thats’ another story altogether.

I blocked out the shapes and began painting and my daughter laughed at me because I was sitting there saying (out loud), “I love you, oil paint! I have missed you!” as I wondered how I could neglect this delight. I’m sure it had something to do with the feeling that oil paints are too expensive. I couldn’t justify the money. Read: I wasn’t worth it. Ouch.

For healing of my Self, I have been splurging on art supplies. That is, I have been buying some. Splurge is a relative term.

I worked on this one for a while, working the background first and I ran out of the main color. I ordered some more, and pushed the easel aside to clear the walkway through the dining room where it was set up. I headed to the kitchen to wash my brushes and when I came back I saw the (barely begun) painting from behind. And I loved it. I thought – wouldn’t it be great if I could hang it that way, specifying that there be light behind it so you can see the twisty curves and open spaces. Ego that I have, I would have assumed that I would like the painting best from the front – seeing the picture (I am an abstract artist to begin with, but still!). Then it occurred to me that I know our Gallery rules and there is really not much chance of my being allowed to hang it “backwards.” That just isn’t done.

So then I wondered: is my perspective of the right way to see something a bit skewed here? Sometimes it helps to look a problem from another angle to gain clarity. Sometimes there are multiple ways to do things and it comes down to merely picking one, because neither is better than the other. But then all these assumptions come into play: the oughts and the shoulds. Yuck. I hate all the guilt those words carry with them.

In the end, I think the bit that most draws me is how surprised I was that the unintentional so-called ‘wrong side’ turned out to be quite charming. I hope the so-called ‘right side’ is too, but I also feel a degree of pleasure at the very notion that both sides can be beautiful. ….if only I can keep a willing openness to change of perspective.

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