A colour-wash of memories tint my brain
A million shades I’d love to recreate
I hold too tight, imagination reined
Convince myself I’m too old, it’s too late
‘Not good enough’, spits out its bitter pill
Expecting me to swallow down dream’s death
I challenge habit’s thinking – time stands still –
Anticipation waits with bated breath…
Yet once I start to paint, I find my flow
My brush an inked extension of my hand
My eyes begin to sparkle with warm glow
As liquid rainbows blend, soft strokes expand
Released in coloured undulating swirl
I sense my creativity unfurl…
I took this shot late this afternoon in Chancery Lane Underground Station, here in London – we were right at the end of the busy East-bound Central Line platform waiting for our train to arrive, and I realised I could see quite far in to the usually dark tunnel.
So I grabbed my camera and took a couple of quick shots of our train coming in along the tracks, and was pleasantly surprised to find that this image is reasonably in focus and not actually too grainy, considering the ISO was set at 1600!
These are my old watercolour paints from school – well, what’s survived of them, anyway! I haven’t actually done any watercolour painting since 20th May 1981, and the reason I can be so confident about the date is because that was the day I sat my Higher Art practical exam, just before I left school… I found the old exam paper with my paints 🙂
I never intended to give up painting altogether, because although I wasn’t ever great at it I really enjoyed it, but after leaving school I worked for a while, then got married and had a baby – actually three babies, one after the other – and somehow there never seemed to be time to paint. I carried on tentatively drawing (mainly simple pencil sketches) for a while, then that too dwindled away to nothing.
Over the years I have occasionally picked up my drawing pencil every now and again, but never my paintbrush. In fact, although I still have my paints I have no idea where my brushes even went, or my watercolour paper for that matter? There were more tubes of paint initially, but sadly after close inspection these nine were all that were salvagable – mind you after 36 years of total neglect it should probably be more surprising to me that any are still usable!
Recently I’ve been feeling the stirrings of creative curiosity again though – that prickling sensation of anticipation that comes with a renewed desire to have another go, just to see how it feels after so long to wield a wet paintbrush on heavy paper, feel the flowing undulations of diluted colour spreading out and tinting the pristine page beneath. I think that’s why I like using watercolours so much – there’s a delicate softness of touch to it, a gentle fluidity that resonates with me emotionally.
My mum was an art teacher before she got married, and she always used to paint with oil paints, and my eldest daughter moved on from the bright acrylics of her teens to the pastels she uses now. But my favourite medium was always watercolour paints – whatever else I experimented with along the way I always came back to watercolours. And now here I am at 53, itching to pick up where I left off 36 years ago.
The thing is, starting painting again requires an initial outlay – fresh paints, and replacement brushes and paper. Nothing too fancy, I don’t need to equip an entire studio, just get the bare minimum to give it a try. But if I’m actually going to do this then I need to commit to starting somewhere, so I guess there’s no harm in picking up a few basic supplies, and taking it from there – how exciting…! 🙂
I’m actually quite an organised person, in an abstract kind of way. I’m sometimes considered a bit untidy and laissez-faire by some standards, but I generally know where all my stuff is and can usually locate it (whatever ‘it’ is!) pretty quickly, without any difficulty.
My personal filing system consists of a series of multicoloured plastic folders held upright in a plastic filing tub or two. They’re not filed alphabetically but organically, in order of logical accessibility, and with those I use most often to the front. For example I file my leftover Euros and US dollars with my passport, until the next time I need them. But my passport also lives in the same file as my birth certificate, National Insurance card, and National Health card, right at the back.
I know some people who keep everything lined up leaf by leaf in single file with almost military precision from A-Z (without deviation) in a traditional filing cabinet, and I have great respect for such uber-organisation but that level of regimentation is just not for me. To be honest I don’t think it really matters how we choose to file all our important papers, as long as we have a system that (a) works, and (b) works for us – after all, it’s our stuff!
Because I also know other people who may appear neat-freak organised on the surface because everything in their home looks neat and tidy externally, but open their carefully closed drawers or cupboards and myriad papers of all shapes and sizes are just crammed in hap-hazard all over the place in no apparent order – but to me that’s neither tidy nor organised, that’s just creating a burying-your-head-in-the-sand facade that fools no-one, least of all yourself… 🙂
One glaring omission from my personality seems to be a naturally happy gene – it’s not that I’m never capable of feeling happiness, more that it requires a deliberately proactive shift in my internal emotional mechanism for me to seek out those rare moments of satisfaction and joy and contentment and truly appreciate them for what they are – it feels to me like happy is just not my natural state of being.
I once began studying for a Master’s Degree in Applied Positive Psychology, and in spite of really looking forward to the academic challenge, emotionally I struggled with the troubling feelings it raised within me right from the very start. Sitting in a class of bright, cheerful, positively motivated people, it soon became clear to me that – just as I’d always felt in childhood – my brain simply didn’t function in quite the same way as everyone else around me.
We completed a lot of personality tests and suchlike as part of our course, and as usual everything we explored seemed to indicate towards me having a depressive personality with bells on. It was as if my brainwaves resonate on a completely different frequency to the rest of the class – no matter how hard I tried, I just didn’t fit in to the prescribed mould for successful students of this subject. And the more time passed, the more depressed I felt about it all, so I chose not to study my Master’s degree to completion – I gave it up for good, only one third of the way through.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s not that I sit around all day permanantly wringing my hands in an oh-woe-is-me kind of way, or can’t function like any other adult in the outside world when I have to. It’s more that where the general level for feeling happiness sits flirtatiously within comfortable reach for the majority of the population, for me it remains consistently and tantalisingly elusive, well beyond my natural grasp, and can only be reached after a concerted effort on my part.
It feels to me that at heart my parabolic range of everyday emotional peaks and troughs plots overwhelmingly below average on a regular basis. In a world of Winnie-the-Poohs and Piglets and bouncy Tiggers, I’m definitely one of life’s Eeyores – but I suppose at least now I’m an Eeyore with a Post-Graduate Certificate in Applied Positive Psychology… 🙂
Our kitchen spice rack contains a very personal mix of flavours and tastes that has developed over the years, a blend of my rather plain-cooking northern Scottish UK roots and my husband’s spicier-palated southern Louisiana US roots.
We tend to cook with a fusion of lots of flavours, some spicy and some not so much – black pepper, mustard powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika, chilli powder, various constituent parts of curry powder, dried herbs of several persuasions, chilli flakes, soy sauce, chilli sauce, fish sauce – and also all-spice, ginger powder, and even cinnamon powder (all of which work well as a flavour-enhancer in savoury dishes).
Most sit in very bland-looking but functional containers, considering the non-blandness of their specific contents, but I particularly like the bright colours in these two small metal tins so have chosen them to illustrate my otherwise rather dull post 🙂
My little blog just kind of ambles along aimlessly, sharing some of my photographs and some of my poetry, and most recently, a couple of illustrated posts about my newly-rediscovered enjoyment of drawing. It’s always been a real challenge for me to share my oh-so imperfect words and images – I worry so much in life about being ‘not good enough’ so historically in real life I’ve always preferred to keep my trial-and-error efforts private. But here on my blog I feel surprisingly OK to share my stuff, in the same way as I enjoy viewing what everyone else has been up to 🙂
I try not to worry too much about checking the stats page, but I do have a ‘follows’ tally and a ‘visits’ count on my home page so I can get an immediate idea of how my interactions from other bloggers are doing as I go along. I know I’ve said it before but it’s always worth repeating – my blog is basically my personal creative space, and I have such fun sharing whatever it is I choose to share. Of course I love it when other people ‘like’ my posts and I’d be upset if I had no reaction at all, but ultimately I blog for me, so I just post what I like and hope for the best!
So thank you all for viewing and reading and commenting and just for being an all-round awesome blogging community – sending much love to you all ❤
Paper and pencils – the perfect partnership 🙂
Hmmm… Today’s Daily Prompt word of symphony made me think immediately of classical music, and one of the first names to spring to mind was Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, who wrote loads of symphonies (and a whole lot else for that matter) in his relatively short lifetime – the composer died aged only 35.
But even so my favourite piece of Mozart’s music is not actually a symphony but is from what turned out to be his final Requiem Mass, and there’s even dispute over how much of that piece was written by Mozart, who died in 1791 before it could be completed. I have to admit in general I’m not so keen on choral music, but whoever completed it, I find there’s something about the melancholy haunting ‘Lacrimosa’ I just love… ❤
Oh joy, our great British summer weather has arrived with a vengeance… on a positive note, it may be wet and miserable, but at least it’s not foggy…
Raindrops – including one active droplet caught mid-drip – suspended from our bedroom window-frame… 🙂