Painting is my failsafe. When all else fails to please a marauding child, be it toddler or teenager, I shout, ‘let’s do some painting’, and a blessed silence descends. There is something soothing about splodging paint on paper. Everyone can achieve something colourful and attractive or, at worst, abstract. The quantity of artwork on the walls is testament to just how often I’ve had need to resort to the bottles of paint.Eight years or so ago, I went through a bumpy patch. Life was going along just fine but I got myself wound into a state of high anxiety. I spent days and weeks with my heart pounding in my chest as I foresaw, predicted and dreaded imaginary disasters. A very wise woman suggested painting. Husband, dutifully, supplied a very pretty box of paints. I sat in our utility room and I produced a few diabolical pictures of roses. I felt better. Honest to God, it works for grown-ups too!
Last night I took out that lovely box of paints, hid in the attic, and smeared greens and blues around a tiny canvas. It’s just the best feeling. It’s like making mud-pies. I have no intention of inflicting my eyesore of a painting on you. It really doesn’t even matter what the end result looks like, it’s how it feels to do it that matters. I feel the same way about gardening and, it occurs to me now, this blog.
I will give you a peek at one artistic endeavour of mine. This is an attempt to display some of the three million shells and stones that I have collected over the years. The coral is from a magnificent coral beach in Galway and the sea-glass is mostly from France. The fossils date from the very first holiday that Husband and I took together, at the Cliffs of Moher, two decades ago. Well obviously, they are much older than that but you know what I mean. Teenage Daughter was stung by a jelly fish when she dived off a pier to get that scallop shell for me. The smell of Factor 50, the taste of ham and coleslaw rolls, the salty lips kisses, cold water gasps and quiet, sleepy drives home. I’m trying to, somehow, hold all that together in a cheap shadow box frame.
The emergency painting routine was moved outdoors today. For about five minutes I was mentally awarding myself a Mother-Of-The-Year medal thinking I had managed to combine fresh air and creativity. It didn’t last. They were too hot and the paper blew away. I sighed inwardly and shouted, ‘let’s get some ice-cream’.