Friday, July 15, 2011

Letting go...

Anthurium scherzerianum in acrylic on canvas.

Since trying to paint with a three year old under foot, I've found that I've had to change my process considerably. If my son is playing away happily by himself and there is nothing else pressing, I get out my paints. Of course, soon as he sees me he wants to be involved - so out come his paints. At first he had his own brushes, his own paints and some scrap paper. However, this wasn't good enough because it was different from what I had. So, it evolved. He now has small amounts of my paint, my older brushes and his own canvasses. It makes him happy, which makes me happy.

However, it wasn't easy. I had to let go of how I did things. A painting session with Morgan means things are messier, noisier (there's constant chatter), and usually very time restricted. While painting the background to this image, he even leaned over and decided to add a few of his own touches. AHHHH! I wasn't impressed and it was following an incident where he had just accidentally dragged his sleeve through his paint and got it all over the my anxiety was already elevated. Then I took a breath and I let it go. "Oh...good idea." I said, "I'm going to add some black to what you did and then it will look like things in the background that are out of focus." He was happy with that.

You see, in a brief moment between having the unwanted addition to my painting and before I opened my mouth to tell him off I realized a few things. First, if I yell at him this isn't going to be fun for him anymore. Second, he thought he was helping me (and maybe he did), just as I help him grab the pen and write his letters - so how can I get mad for something I do to him?  Third, it's only paint. I struggle so hard to make the image in my mind come to life on the canvas and it rarely looks exactly how I imagined in the end. So, why not embrace that rather than get frustrated about it. Let it go!

Now, just so nobody thinks I let my child run rampant...we did have a discussion about asking first before drawing on someone else's picture.


  1. By letting go, you seem to have opened up wider and allowed another influence, already very much a part of you, become embodied and shine through. Morgan is intricately part of you as well as being his own growing self, and vice versa. What a giant step! What a brilliant work!

  2. Has anyone else noticed the obvious (at least to me)? How this flower Anthurium scherzerianum in your painting resembles an umbilical cord.

  3. Ha ha - it might Celeste...but I don't think your insights will come to fruition this time!