Most of my writing is spontaneous, usually triggered by a feeling, a memory. Well, a memory tonight inspired a poem, and I'll share it with you. The spacing is intentional.
Once I start painting, I find it very difficult to stop. In my office, I work my day job at one desk and do my painting at another that stands at a 90-degree angle next to it. I find myself wistfully glancing at my artwork while I type doctors' notes, and sometimes I have to stop, take a break, and add a couple of brush strokes when I just can't take it anymore.
Last night, I worked into the wee hours of the morning. I do this frequently, and sometimes I have to actually set an alarm on my smartphone to remind me to go to bed if the next day is a workday. Fortunately, on weekends, I'm a free agent, able to stay up until 5 a.m. and sleep until 11.
I've been asked about my "process" and had to think about what that meant exactly. What I found common to nearly every multi-hour painting session was that I always have music playing. I've tried TV, but I get too distracted by what's happening on the screen and can't focus on what I'm painting. Sometimes it really messes up what I'm doing. Music, however, keeps me focused as if I'm in a trance. Now, the different genres of music can make a big difference in what I'm painting, and vice versa. When I'm working on a fantasy piece, such as my mermaids, I want soft, ethereal music for the smooth lines and the surreal world I travel to in my mind. I have a few Pandora stations for different work. Celtic Woman, Enya, and Libera are all fantasy painting music, whereas for a very abstract or playful piece with a lot of quick brushstrokes, I want to hear something upbeat like '80s music, Chopin, or even dubstep. It just depends on the mood I'm in and what kind of work I want to produce. I have painted in silence, which I prefer to any other distraction, except music.
It's kind of amazing how my mood can shift with music. Using two art forms together to communicate my "message" or just express the pictures going on in my brain, to me that's the highest form of meditation. I'm thankful for my ability to do this art form and for the music other artists create. Sometimes music actually inspires new ideas that I can't shake until they are at least sketched. It's a wonderful phenomenon.
I've fallen in love with the process called screen printing. For the longest time, I could not understand how it was done or why. Now I do. The results can be beautiful. It's true that I can't resist a new project, even when all my other projects are unfinished. At least this one can stay on the back burner for a little longer.
I'm determined to get at least two more things finished before I pick up another one. The first is my book, and the second is a commission I've been working on for longer than I care to admit. The buyer is a very patient person but probably thinks I've abandoned the project altogether. It will be a surprise when it finally gets delivered.
The dragging issue on my mind is: Do I go back to school? If so, for what?
I don't know what the next 45 years hold, but I have enough curiosity and desire to fill up every second. How many more skills and projects can I squeeze into the rest of my life? I guess only time will tell. I'm starting right....NOW!