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  • Writer's pictureNaomi Christensen

What I love and hate (and need) about painting

I love, hate (and need) …

patience - it is a real challenge to sit back and wait for layers to dry. So much of the process is doing nothing when all you want to do is hurry up and create what is in your head. But painting won’t allow rushing. This is something you learn the hard way. Much like trying to rush life.

Relinquishing control - You have some influence, but never make the mistake of believing you are in control of the timeline. A lot of my process is even having to go to bed unhappy with where a piece is at. I’m always surprised how your perspective can change after a good night’s sleep! Being able to “go with the flow”, and make “lemons into lemonade” not only helps to deal with the unexpected, but can make something even better than planned.

In this case, I tried to use up an old pot of quite dry gesso. I ended up with caked on bits of white all over the canvas. And while I cursed my decision to try, a softer background emerged than I usually do. And what do you know? I love it!

Cleaning - not sure I can turn this one into a positive. Cleaning up sucks. But it’s a necessary evil if you want everything to work properly. Otherwise you end up with ruined brushes, stains on the floorboards (and clothes) and dried up gesso! Pretty sure this is the same with life in general. It’s not the fun stuff, but it’s necessary to get to the fun stuff.

Being forced to be present - it’s so easy to avoid being present. All you have to do is keep busy! Work, work, work and you won’t need to think. Which is great, until you stop doing and start being. It will happen whether you like it or not, so it’s important to  be comfortable with the discomfort. Take time to feel, otherwise you might find yourself suddenly crying in a work meeting…or 2…or 3.

Draw on life - the biggest highs and lows for me right now have been around cats. Losing my boy after 22 years has been a bigger struggle than anticipated. No matter how inevitable it was, no matter how peaceful the end was, no matter how much wonderful support I have, and no matter how grateful I am for having him so long, it has affected almost every area of my life. Coinciding with this I had a work event with kittens. Naughty, confident, highly energetic kittens that no matter how you are feeling overall, make you laugh.

Now to practice that this space!

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