Painting, writing, and music are not just modes of creative expression for me, they are also the ways in which I process life.
My brother-in-law Brian was told that he has only months left to live. Despite his prognosis, Brian has a remarkably positive attitude. Last night when we spoke to him, Brian, 83, was planning his 90th birthday party. That made me smile. If anyone can beat the odds, he can.
I wanted to plan the party too, but I’ve got to admit I was wrapped up in grief. So I decided that instead of avoiding grief, I’d face it head on. I figured that if I could get my grief out, I’d be better able to send love his way.
This morning I grabbed an earlier work of a Manzanita that was “almost good”, and proceeded to paint over it. Using a palette knife, I covered the the canvas in red. (Usually I associate red with vitality, but today red felt like pain.) Once I covered the canvas, I added black to neutralize the pain/red. I could almost hear the pssssst, and see the steam as the black hit the canvas.
I was not trying to paint a pretty picture. I was just trying to get the sadness out. I painted with my non-dominant hand so that would focus on the release of energy rather than the making of a painting.
It was a great session. Much of the grief has been released. I realize that this is a process, so I’ll keep at it with my music, writing and even more painting.
Now I can help plan the party.