So as I think about what I need to do to sort things out I immediately remember something my dad used to tell me over and over when I would get overwhelmed. If I had a lot of tasks at hand looking like insurmountable challenges, he would quietly say, “… just stop. Take your time. Rather than look at everything you have to do all at once, break it down. Look at things one piece at a time.”
That particular approach is not unique to my father. I have heard the concept repeated a number of ways over the years but having someone I respect remind me of that has continued to help me my whole life. I can get overwhelmed by the appearance of magnitude. I need to be reminded to stop for a moment, and take my time.
I am a list maker and that can be good or bad. On the good side it’s a very organized way to articulate and identify all the things I need to do, and as I finish something I can make a check mark next to it. That’s satisfying and encouraging. When it gets hard is when your list grows expotentialy, becoming unwieldy. It begins to grow out of control and each day you just add to the list, try to pick up speed to get a handle on it, and you may not get to make any check marks. Well that’s no fun! It can be suddenly overwhelming.
Tonight I am sitting on my back screen porch looking out at the last rays of today’s sunlight. It is the first sun we’ve really been able to enjoy in some time and it is uplifting. I was thinking last night about what my father had said about stopping and taking my time, and realized that I needed to do that.
I need to stop the inertia. I need to be self aware. Painting has the duality of both catharsis and illustration, the latter sometimes giving the captured negative bits too much traction. So when I put a canvas in front of me last night I decided that I needed to paint something that was defusing and positive again. I needed to take my time.
So what I painted last night is simply a portrait of a cow. There is no cloaked message, no statement, and no internal angst being processed. It is a step towards my inner peace. It is me calming down and hitting a reset button. It is an exercise in pushing paint around. It is play. It is art. It is honoring the other part of Kelly that sees joy and beauty in absolutely everything. That is the person that I need to feed and nurture and protect because that is the person who will persevere.
I hope you enjoy this 11″ by 14″ oil on canvas called “Cow”.