Saturday, February 27, 2010

Making Our House A Home

Last November I shared a few stories about the fact that Joanne and I had bought our first house… and what a beautiful house it is!!! We’re living in a great neighbourhood, surrounded by lots of parks and recreation areas and the Thames River is just a five-minute walk away.

Since the previous owners had lived here for over fifty-three years the house still ‘felt’ like them, even tho’ we had our own furniture and paintings decorating the place. Joanne and I knew that it would take a bit of time before our house started feeling like ours.

To help me feel like this is my home, I immediately started digging in the Earth. I love gardening and I couldn’t wait to start preparing some flowerbeds that I will be planting this coming spring.

Well… this is about as far as I got, in that work. The cold winds of winter started blowing and soon we were knee-deep in snow.

I spent the next two months doing what any artist would do – being confined to the indoors – I painted! I finished two commissioned works for my clients. One was a landscape and the other was a portrait of a dog.

The New Year had just started and I thought that I would do a little painting, just for my own pleasure. For many evenings I found myself staring at an empty wall in our living room and I began to think that the wall would look better if I painted a picture on it.

The many weeks that I’ve been working on this project have really allowed me to feel like this is my home. For hours at a time I’ll fill the air with the music I love as I’m painting and the connections I’ve made between me and the walls of this house have brought me much happiness!

Ta-da! A circle is born!!!!

After two more weeks, my circle had expanded quite a bit.

When I was sharing the story about the pet portrait that I was working on throughout December - - I talked a bit about the texture that I was using to create the beach. I mentioned that many times, when a texture is only partially complete, that I will become inspired by something that I see in it. On many occasions I will try to use these new ideas in future paintings.

I took my memory of the beach texture and incorporated it into my wall mural. When I do this kind of thing, I never look back at where my inspiration came from – I didn’t study the texture of the beach. By using the memory of an idea I find that the new thoughts that go into creating the new texture become unique – unto itself.

While I paint, I think of many things. One day, while I was painting one of the large circles, I was thinking about how painting is a form of yoga! Yoga is about movement of the body and drawing consciousness to the mind. Yoga practices can take long periods of meditative actions in a calming environment.

As I continued to paint my way around the circle I noticed all the positions that I put my body into and all the different muscles that I was using in each position. Since it was taking me about forty-five minutes to paint each circle, I became aware that I was performing my own form of yoga!

One of the other things that I started thinking about, was how funny it would be to create a series of photos showing all the different poses that must get into as I paint my circles! And so, I did!!!!

This is my most recent photo of my mural. I took this photo just an hour ago. As you can see, I still have far to go. To give you an idea of how long this project is taking me, look towards the bottom of this painting. You can see that I still have to fill in an area with some more textured wiggly lines. It will take me about six more hours – over the course of this weekend – to finish this area.

I decided to use another texture in this area – different than the texture found inside the first series of circles. One of the reasons was that the first texture that I used took so darn long to paint and I wanted to speed this second texture along, more quickly. HA! Boy was I wrong. I’m actually finding that all these wiggly lines are taking me a longer time to paint.

Live and learn! Live and learn.

I’m looking forward to the completion of this mural, so that I’ll be able to share more photos of its completion as well as the story behind the design. Yup – it’s not just a circle that I’ve been painting, it’s something a bit more inspiring…

But that’s another story!


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