Wednesday, November 1, 2017


It appears that November has arrived cloaked in mist beneath granite skies. The rain has washed away the gaiety of last evening's zombie parade through my yard; a handful of scattered candy wrappers in the lawn the only evidence of the gleeful dancing made slightly awkward by sweetly full sacks and overflowing pockets. I watch as silver drops chase each other down the glass of the window now, loving autumn's temperamental moods.

I adore rain. Despite how it makes my bones ache, I have some kind of connection to the elemental weeping of the heavens. I know when it's coming, plan accordingly, and often paint my best work on these damp days. Yesterday, I had one of my sons help lug the large canvas from the entryway of our home up to my studio. (it's four feet tall and five feet long and I'm not nearly coordinated enough to maneuver that up the split stairs alone) This painting, while hanging for several years now, has nagged at the back of my mind for months. I've studied it, scrutinized it, contemplated it, and flatly glared at it - the nagging becoming nearly a howl before I figured it out.

My paintings are me. I know this. Frankly, it's probably the reason why nearly every canvas I sell has 2 or 3 other paintings beneath the one I finally accept as finished. There is much in me still under construction. Days when I am not my best, days when the edges unravel and the threads untie....these days are sometimes caught in the pigments of my brush. Later, I can see them plainly laid out as clearly as if intended - and thus, I love gesso. That milky thick eraser of such a record. Thirty minutes and that canvas sleeps, buried gently and deep, only visible in my memory.

This is the painting. It scratched at me. Most of my work, whether planned or not, ends up with a path in it. I paint my dreams and apparently am traveling quite often. But then again, isn't life a journey? Always in motion, we move ahead, turn around, choose a direction, sometimes stumble...sometimes spend entirely too much time looking back. It finally occurred to me, this path is dark on both ends. Life can be dark, choices difficult, and at the time I painted this - I can now see how trapped I felt. My path wasn't going forward, but sideways - and either way I turned, I wasn't heading toward the light.

And so, on this drizzly slate day, I chose the music, (this is what I painted to) and I began again. Five hours later, paint smeared in my hair and across my cheek...

It's only the first layer, just the beginning. I will dream tonight. I'm not sure yet where exactly I'm going, life is always a wonder and often a surprise. I'm looking forward to the quiet that comes when summer's golden rush has faded and winter puts the world to sleep. I will paint....and see where it leads.

Happy November, my friends.


Lisa Southard said...

Life is a path :-)
[Incidentally, I am an enthusiastic, unskilled painter with no desire to improve.]
Perhaps it's the time of year, but our posts do have a synchronicity. It must be a good thing xx

Robbie Grey said...

Thank you for ushering in late autumn. Winter will be here in a matter of weeks. The paths twist and turn...

Flo said...

Dang! Both your writing and painting capture life! Congratulations!

Chantel said...

Lisa - I love the word "synchronicity" - it brings to mind some giant clockwork machine humming along at lightening speed...

Robbie - So true, but then again - who would really want a long, flat, straight path?

Flo - Thank you, such a lovely compliment! xo

Lisa Southard said...

I've nearly finished your book - and I hope you don't mind that I've written about it - and the one horrid review you got on Amazon - and the hilarious riposte.
My criticism is that I genuinely feel that it's unfair you are such a good cook.
When I'm finished I shall write a review on Amazon, in which I might mention culinary jealousy.

Chantel said...

Lisa - on a crazy day that contained some heartache as well as some glitter (does everyone have days like that?) your note made me smile. I loved your post - thank you!!

brian gladys said...
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