Throughout my adult life, creating and art has always been a comfort. When I was 10 days overdue with my first child I sat, huge and frustrated, and finished drawings as a means to keep my center. During the weeks and months of the 2008/09 recession, worrying over the state of our finances and future, I went into the studio and created portraits. As my extended family went through heartbreak and loss, I would stay up late into the night and just be – In my studio and looking at color. My pallet, with its brightly hued rainbow, was the same beautiful thing even when we said goodbye to those we loved. As I have grieved losses of many different kinds, I have used the process of creation as a way to process and to break from the here and now.
There is something involved, and so comforting, about creating a beloved work of art. Whether it will be for a client, collector, friend or for yourself, that creation will endure, years from now. The problems and worries of today will all have faded to the background, and that portrait, still life, or landscape will still remain. That painting will be beautiful and comforting for those who enjoy it in the moment, whatever that moment may hold.
During this time of uncertainty and Covid-19, staying home with my children, husband, and my work, I have been so grateful for the time I have in my studio. I’m lucky to be able to work from a home studio, simplifying the idea of staying put to keep ourselves and others around us well. As I juggle homeschooling for the first time, keeping our home running, and getting along with my husband and children as we spend more time together than ever before, my studio is a sanctuary. As such, I am guarding that sanctuary as best I can. In there, painting and color are a salve on the pains and worries of this moment.
The portraits I create will exist long past this season and that thought takes me out of this time. It takes me to places I have yet to imagine, and I think that is what most of our art is for. It is a letter of a particular kind, a message for the future, speaking of what is and what is hoped for. Today the oil paint on our canvas is wet and asking us what is left to be done, and there will be a tomorrow when that painting is complete and enjoyed in the time that is next. Art reminds us that we humans and this planet are more beautiful than ugly, more kind than evil, and more colorful than dull. Enjoy painting for yourself and others and let’s all be grateful to be able to share this colorful beauty called oil painting.
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