Thursday, October 18, 2012

Anew

 
 
Like the way your fingers tingle upon the touch of a new lover's flesh...so my hands feel.  Taunt with excitement, slightly terrified and more than a shade awkward.  It's been nearly five months... 
 
If you don't know the story of the red paintbrush, read the beginning of this tale here
 
I was devastated.  Even now my heart pounds as I think about that day.  My hands curl slightly...that feeling in your stomach like you've fallen a great distance.  One hundred and forty-nine days since.  One hundred forty-nine days without unscrewing a tube of paint.  A summer packed full of children and trips to the pool and long evenings spent reading on the front porch.  Every so often I would wander into my studio...and breathe.  Liquid sunshine, the smell of charcoal and paint and wooden canvas frames would roll over me like warm ocean waves.  I would run my fingers over the soft brushes that waited patiently in the empty teapot....and quietly leave.
 
Truly it's unlike me to be so...cowardly. 
 
But there it is.  I was afraid.  Oh, so robust of me to use the past tense there--because I am still afraid.  It's difficult to explain the uncertainty that has taken root in my heart.  Even with hundreds of canvases behind me....they were all painted with that brush.  
 
School commenced and I found myself preparing for our annual bash, the Soup. (should you care, you can read about it here.)  This is quite the undertaking as we open the entire house to guests--every bedroom, bathrooms, the mancave in the basement as well as the third floor library and my studio.  You know how when you have friends over there's always a room you shove crap in and shut the door?  We can't do that when expecting so many--which forces me to de-clutter and clean every scrap and nano-meter we live in.  A tad overwhelming, but hell--I'm done cleaning till after the holidays! 

The Soup was on the 13th....and a part of me cringed the entire evening as I was faced with the same inquiry over and over, "So what have you painted lately?"  Ummmm.....nothing?  Everything from early spring has sold so what was left on the walls was older; ones I don't like enough to hang or cannot part with for some reason or other.  And mixing the chocolate chips into the pancake batter the next morning, (while sipping a delicious chocolate wine, I might add) I came face to face with the apprehensive artist now living in my home.  She gazed at me from the reflection in the kitchen window.
 
Sunday and Monday were party-recovery. (dear Lord above, I am not twenty anymore)  Tuesday and Wednesday I cleaned and cooked.  And this morning I sent the boys off to school, tidied up....and pulled on my gear.  Clothes ancient, covered in paint and ink.  Dabs of olive green and ocher, cobalt blue and crimson; the rip in the right leg gaps a bit, framing the skin of my knee in a strange motley way.
 
It took eleven brushes...they felt wrong in my hands.  I kept switching them, one into the teapot after another, the splash of water a harsh reminder of my neglect. 
 
Later I sat, this painting staring back.  It's not large, only 10 x 12 or so, and this is just the first stage.  The part where I force my mind back into my dreams and attempt to pull them out and make them tangible.  Sometimes I love my work best at this stage, for here they appear much more like real dreams...blurry, the edges undefined.  From here though, my waking mind clarifies, delineates and eventually finishes the work.  If I like it, it lives.  If I don't....my, how I do love the magic that is gesso. 
 
I feel almost as if I'm dating again.  The alieness of these brushes....it's rather like taking a stranger home for the first time.  Incorporating the foreign into the most intimate aspect of my life. 
 
Starting over.  Something the human race is renowned for.  Our ability to adapt and accept transitions, to forge on after overwhelming loss.  Relationships, marriages, parenting...new jobs, new challenges.  Life after abandonment, disease and graveyards.  I suppose my fear is really founded in my own selfish aversion to change.  My comfort in how it was.  Pathetic, really. 
 
Some roads we find ourselves upon are not our choice.  But each leads someplace from where we are.  Here's to knowing I don't want to stay where I am....so one foot in front of the other. 
 
I begin.
 
 
 
  



25 comments:

Out on the prairie said...

nice to dabble,my supplies have stayed in the same place for too long

Christine Macdonald said...

Ahhhh. The creative blocks. The fear. La Douleur Exquisite.

So happy you're turning the page.

Welcome home.

xxoo

terlee said...

Next year I want to come to the Soup. ;D

Did you honor the old brush in some fashion? I remember your post about "losing" the brush; how mad, sad, horrible you felt.

I'm amazed how long it's been. So yes, now you must begin. On a new path, with a new instrument, to paint your dreams.

Shelly said...

And a new beginning promises an even more magnificent journey. You are going to do fine on this one. I just know it. Glad you are on the way!

Shelly said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mel Heth said...

Beautiful. It's funny how we're renowned for starting over, but we all seem to have an aversion to change. (Or maybe that's me applying my own aversion to the entire world).

This post made me think of Harry Potter using a new wand. :) Maybe your new brush will unleash all kinds of unexpected magic!

Mary said...

Sounds like you have been busy. Nothing like life getting in the way of living it.

BamaTrav said...

You know, you warned me. I had no idea that actually painting my portrait would have done this to you. So sorry.

David P. King said...

This is excellent. I was completely drawn into your words. That's the mark of a great writer, right there. :)

Chantel said...

Prairie--you should get them out!

Christine--thank you darling.

Terlee--you, my dear, are officially invited! I still have the brush...some day I might put it in a shadow box and hang it in my studio...but not yet.

Shelly--your confidence makes me smile, sweet woman.

Mel--oh, I do like the idea of a magic brush! Change is never easy, is it?

Mary--haha, what a great way to put it!

BamaTrav--I'll recover, trust me. :)

David--thank you, what a compliment!

Murr Brewster said...

I never start a painting without walking away from it. If it takes me a month to complete a painting, three weeks of that is walking away. I think I'm afraid of messing up. But once I start and stay, I fall into it. Right into the painting. It's a wonderful feeling, especially since I can't tolerate marijuana.

FrankandMary said...

Comfort(& the convenience) in how it was isn't always selfish or pathetic(though it can be). Sometimes our balance gets pushed too much toward the chaos of change & we feel we can better fulfill our obligations to others by doing exactly what we already feel we know how to do(with what we know how to do it with). Yes, it is a mind game, but it can be a well-intended one.


But when we let the cork fly from our bottled up lives, yes, it can be ever so much more wonderful. Not many people really do it all that often, inspite of what they may tell you. ~Mary

Brian Miller said...

smiles...it is a beautiful painting...and i am glad that you have found that level of comfort again with your new brush...its a journey....and on it goes...

Dee said...

Dear Chantel, first, the painting speaks to me--a path through the woods and they are autumn woods as I have come to the autumn of my life. The autumn of my life in which I moved from my home of 32 years and the state I'd lived in for 38 years to this state and home that feel alien to me.

Today a visiting friend spoke with great compassionate truth to me. She said, her voice tender, that I was seeing only what wasn't working. I needed to look for what was. I am here. I am 76. This is my life now and I must embrace it and go on.

For six years, ever since Meniere's Disease claimed me, I have avoided writing the novel that comes from the deep center of my being--the Bronze Age Greece novel. I try to research; I close the book. I try to write; I go back and read what's been written.

But, Chantel, today I read your post and I think if she can begin to pain again without her beloved, treasured, gifted brush, then I can begin to write and I can begin to embrace the changes in my life. Thank you. Deeply. Peace.

Shea Goff said...

Amen.

Freckled Philologist said...

Your last two paragraphs echo within my soul.
Didn't hear from 17 year old who I set the alarm for early this Sunday. Silent skype minutes ticked by. Yet, it's a new day, sun filtering in through every metal blind (we're in the city) crack begging to be let in, and another opportunity to find the good and beautiful. Just one foot in front of the other. Autumn blessings from Astorga.

David P. King said...

Btw, I left you a Shout-Out on my blog, just so you know. :)

Chantel said...

Murr--lol! I do so love your brain!

Mary--"bottled up lives" is a fantastic phrase and a perfect description! I just hope I don't lose my cork altogether...

Brian--thanks, a journey indeed.

Dee--oh, so lovely to hear! You must write...to be true to you, and so that I may one day read. :) Beginnings are magic...

Shea--adore you.

Mary--an empty screen can be so sad, but yes, each day has something wonderful to be found; we just have to look harder some days than others. xo

Chantel said...

David--has anyone told you that you rock today??

Anthony said...

I've never tried painting-maybe I should...

Sarah Kate {Dixie Creek Farm} said...

It's beautiful. I can't believe that's just the beginning stages.

I really wish I could relate to this more, too. I really enjoyed going back and reading the first installment. Did you save the brush?

The Empress said...

Re-turning, re-discovering, re-inventing.

Re-finding ourselves.

In a perfect circle, sometimes.

xo

Tammy Theriault said...

cleaning before guest...grrrr...u realize what clutter u have. following from david...hi!!

Chantel said...

Anthony--you should! Therapy, release...painting frees you. :)

Sarah Kate--I did save the brush. Recently I spoke with a gallery owner and she said she'd like to try to save it, she has some magic cleaner...I almost fainted. I'm dropping it off next week!

Empress--I love the word "Re-finding." I may have to use that one a time or two. :)

Tammy--lol, yes--but so freeing after when I have a lovely clutter-free house to lounge in! Wonderful to meet you!

The Loerzels said...

I am right there with you. New beginnings are scary, but it's the anticipation of the change that's always worse than change itself. (And coincidentally, we're hosting a big halloween party tonight and I should start cooking).