Nine months ago I started a painting project – admittedly a rather ambitious one. Nine months ago I also started a new life.
I knew that this change would come with the normal stress and upheaval that can naturally only be expected from such a decision. I gave up hospitality for good, leaving the guest house and what had been my small home town my entire life, moving with my pre teen son and four cats, to be with the man I love and I am soon to be married to.
I knew that adjusting and finding our feet would be the focus for all of us for those first few months. It would understandably take a great deal of emotional energy.
Nonetheless I did not want my creative journey to stand still completely while this was happening. So instead of giving myself some time off, I decided to start a project. A birding calendar! What could be so difficult, its just one bird a month. Mmmmm.
It takes time to get the richness of colour and detail when painting birds, adding botanicals to the mix adds even more time! How much time? About 10 or more hours per painting of time..give or take. One might argue that I needed a trip to my therapist instead. Paradoxically however, my very lengthy project turned out to be just what the doctor ordered, that combined with a daily run and throwing myself into our new garden.
So my daily painting sabbatical began. Two to three hours at least 4 to 5 days a week. This scheduled session became one of my safe places into which I could escape. Focusing my attention on painting became a kind of meditation. I could zone out and get caught up in the brush strokes. Composition, colour, plant choices etc. became the new problems to solve.
Following through with my intention to create twelve beautiful paintings could only be accomplished by breaking it down into these daily sessions. I had to make my home in my work, clock in daily and tick it off in my diary once done. Then start the whole process all over again the next day. While some of the paintings took only ten hours others took longer. I would give myself two to three weeks per painting.
And now after nine months I am done. The paintings have been scanned and are ready for printing into calendars. I have recieved the first test print and I can’t help flipping through it ever so often through the day.
I took all twelve paintings out of the drawer this morning and laid them out on the dining room table. They are beautiful. A testament for me of what is possible. A bird for every month and every month a milestone. And here we are, many many months later.