“Butt in chair,” writes Ann Lamott about creating. “Just do it…You are going to feel like hell if you never write the stuff that is tugging on the sleeves in your heart.” Painting has tugged at my sleeves for decades. Last month, back-to-back classes took me across the threshold. I am painting each morning. An hour’s practice before breakfast. A peaceful kind of work, once I settle in. The world is so quiet before 6AM.
It is said someone asked Ted Williams how he learned to play ball. “Practice. Practice. Practice. Trial and error. Trial and error. Trial and error.” Surprise: my mom was right. Practice works.
Each morning has frustration and discovery. I am learning about the possibilities of a brush, the effect of water, the usefulness of fingertips. I’ve learned to stop at 30 minutes and walk away. At 60 minutes comes that internal voice: “Just fix this one last thing.” and I’ve learned it’s the sign to stop. Most of all I’m learning to not worry. Painting feels good. There will be another painting tomorrow.
“You were made and set here for this, to give voice to your astonishment,” writes Annie Dillard. It is a gift to focus on the astonishing miracle of color and light.
Here is a week in sunflowers. If you’d like to see the series, stop by Studio 305 this Saturday, during Open Studios at Western Avenue Studios in Lowell. I’ll be there noon to 5, and I’ll have these pieces to share. Roses coming along nicely, now, too.