Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Rest Requires Releasing and the Meaning Behind the Painting

Rest Requires Releasing
oil on paper 16 x 20 inch

It is hard to believe it has been five months since I have posted here, but on the other hand it is not.  At the beginning of the year I was at lunch with several friends and one of them said he would like to kick 2017 in the behind and right on out the door.  My sentiments exactly.  I could not have said it better.  Last year was a rough one.  However, rather than lamenting here on this public space about how hard life can be, I would much rather write about things that bring hopeful thoughts and a spirit of peace because that attitude has always served me better than hanging onto what cannot be changed.  There is so much in life we have no control over and if we accept this, we are much better off.  We can be more productive, we can be more at peace, we can love others better, we can have rest inside our souls, and this is what inspired this painting.

When I was a child, I used to love letting helium balloons go into the sky.  What child didn't, right?  It was always a special thing to be given a helium balloon, and whenever I was given one, I remember I used to worry that it would slip out of my grasp too soon.  I wanted to position myself in just the right place to release it, making sure it would not get caught in a tree, or the sun would not hinder my view of it once I let it go.  I remember the thrill of opening my hand and watching it slowly and quietly float upward, becoming smaller and smaller until it was a tiny speck in the sky and then it would vanish.  In my child's mind it seemed to always carry something from me to some unknown place, to some unknown person, and once that person found the balloon we would be forever connected in some mysterious universal way.


That childhood memory gave me the foundation for the idea of this painting which has been dancing around in my mind for a couple of years.  I was considering making it one of the paintings in my Finding Faith series, but committing to a full blown Faith project seemed really daunting to me at this time.  Getting multiple people together, finding costumes and props, the video, the photos, it was going to require energy I didn't have.  I finally decided to just paint it.


The chairs were an idea that evolved as I worked and they became the symbol of the rest we so need and long for in hard times.  I also thought about how during the bad times in our lives, there can often be something good that is tied to them.  Sometimes bad times can make us more resilient and wise, or make us appreciate life a little more, or live it a little better than before.  Bad times can teach us gratitude for the good and more about WHO we are and WHAT we are about as individual souls.  That is why I painted the balloons in the sky white.


In the closing of the first month in 2018, I still find myself looking back and feeling really sad about all that occurred in 2017, and there are still sad things very present. There are several different "balloons in my grasp" that I am working to let go of and some days are better than others.  Letting go takes time.

The key for me in getting through hard times is recognizing where I have control and where I don't.  And once I sort that out, I am able to let go, and feel more peace.  Restorative rest finally comes.  And even if that rest is only for a day or for an hour, I am grateful for it.

Wishing you peace, joy and love always.  Thanks for reading.