Monday, October 05, 2015

An Unexpected Slap in the Face

I recently had the pleasure of visiting an art studio with my daughter, who was invited to a birthday party there. It was your typical little storefront art studio: walls crowded with completed works of art, paint splatters on the concrete floors, the smell of tempera and modelling clay in the air.

It was enough to make me want to puke. 

It's not because I didn't like it in there, or because I have some subconscious hate on for arty things. Quite the opposite, actually.

You see, I used to consider myself somewhat artistic. Talent? Ha! No, none of that. But what I had was passion: I love, love, love the process of creating art. The act of sitting down to a blank canvas, or pad of paper, pens or markers or pencils or paintbrush in hand... it was enough to make my heart skip a beat. It was thrilling, fulfilling, enchanting. I could get lost in it for hours. Still to this day I have a visceral reaction to the smell of clay and paint, the way some people love the smell of freshly-baked apple pie: it is love, comfort, home.

It was everything I could do not to break down and start to weep the moment we walked into that studio that day.

But, the reality of life and parenting and working full time and everything else means I just don't have the time, or the space, to dedicate to art. I don't feel I can afford the luxury of a few hours to myself -- and when I do get those hours, they are spent folding laundry, or flaking out online because I just don't have the energy for much else these days.

I've managed to stuff that love of creating down deep, and generally ignore it. It may not be healthy or altogether effective, but as long as I pretend it's cool with me that I don't get to immerse myself in art for a few hours a day, I can happily get on with life. The life that I chose, that has nothing to do with art studios usually.

Until, that is, I'm hit in the face with those sights and smells, and I'm suddenly faced with all that it is that I've been stuffing away for so long. As it was in the art studio that day: the feeling was shocking, overwhelming, and caught me completely off guard. Many people might feel excited, or at the very least intrigued walking into a place like that -- I felt sorrow and longing. My heart hurt.

One of these days, when my kids don't need me for every little thing and my house isn't a total sty and I don't already have 45 other things on the ever-loving to-do list, I will sit down to a blank canvas, paintbrush in hand, and un-stuff it all. Hell... I may just sit there and weep.

photo credit: Clos Pegase Winery - Painter via photopin (license)