Last week I was super, super busy. I was on vacation from my "real" job and spent most of the week volunteering at my kids' school. At the end of each day, I was pretty spent and had so trouble winding down. So, I'd paint.
Painting has this magical effect on me. As soon as I walk into my studio, my shoulders start to relax and my mind stops racing. Without thinking too much, I started playing with paint, newsprint and ink. I didn't love what I was creating (photo above), but that wasn't the point. I sole purpose for that moment was to relax. Much of the time I spend painting is for the love of painting and the therapeutic effect it has on me. My mind stops racing. My heart rate goes down. My muscles relax. And I can bask in the stillness that I so rarely feel.
I haven't always painted. I few years ago on a whim I decided I wanted to paint. I never intended it to be a form of therapy for me. But it was undeniable just how amazing paint was for my soul. The more I did it, the more I needed to do it.
When I paint to relax, I don't think too much about the end product. I just do. If I'm really uptight, I ditch the paint brush and use my hands. The feeling of paint on my fingers as I drag it over the canvas is magical. Seeing paint in my nail beds makes me smile. I just keep adding layers and playing until I feel relaxed enough to return to my life.
Typically, I take a therapy canvas and set it aside for a few weeks before I do anything more with it. Then, I come back to it and try to make it something I love. The canvas above is my second pass at the earlier canvas. It looks nothing like the way I left it when I was just throwing paint and ink on it to relax. It can take me weeks to finish a painting. I like to let them sit a bit as I sort of my feelings and figure out what story I'm telling with the piece. Each one tells a story, the story of how I was feeling when I started it.
So much is this process, or painting as a whole, is an experiment for me. I don't really know what I'm doing. I just let my feelings guide me.