Child’s Play

Painting Class2_1009

Painting Class2_1008

Painting Class2_1001

Painting Class2_0998

Just a few quick (mostly blurry) snaps from my iPhone taken at the end of our painting class today. We often use the expression “child’s play” in a pejorative way but in this instance I meant it to convey how joyful and free things can be when you stop worrying about results and fully submerge yourself in the process without preconceived notions. Our wonderful teacher Vicki Tansey had us painting to a great variety of music, with the instruction to let the music inspire us to move and dance before even picking up our paintbrushes, and then, and only then, that we were to interact with our canvases (in this case, found cardboard) as if they were our dance partners. Once I got over my initial misgivings; “…but I don’t like dancing to Bob Marley”; “… The Gyspy Kings? Did it really have to be this song, REALLY??”; or “this music brings an image to mind… I’ll stick to subdued shades of grey, blue and purple and try to reproduce this perfect composition I can see in my mind’s eye right now”). Vicki actually helped with that by grabbing me and almost forcing me into dance—and it worked—I ended up forgetting about all that and having fun: threw on paint almost as an afterthought while following the music, which inevitably got hold of me (somewhere between Callas’s Madama Butterfly, the otherwordly Latcho Drom soundtrack, The Beatles Blackbird and Benny Goodman’s Sing Sing Sing). Got hold of us all, in fact. The results, once again, were incredibly varied. I wouldn’t say pretty, or attractive or particularly good, but definitely interesting and for the most part, seemingly uninhibited, which obviously is the point of this class to begin with. It felt exhilarating, and at the end, I both hated and loved some of the pieces I had painted, but mostly and above all, I saw the music in them, which completely threw off my inner critic who couldn’t find anything to say about these strange images and apparently decided to take the rest of the day off (amen to that!).

As I was thinking of this blog post, there were all kinds of other things I wanted to say about today, and all kinds of other topics I thought I might touch on, but this will have to do for now. I feel like I’ve run a marathon and every part of me, both body and mind, is utterly exhausted—but in a good way. I feel like I jumped out of a plane without a parachute, but strangely enough, it feels like coming home.

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