There is something inherently powerful about welding a brush…
It is a magic wand. A conductor’s baton. A judge’s gavel. A wooden sword of possibility.
And on some days, when I am feeling bruised and a bit lost standing in front of a nearly empty canvas thinking, “Do I really want to paint today?” I pick up a brush and feel its heft. Feel the power of it. And then I think, “Yes, I do want to paint today.”
This power is new to me. I normally feel the power of possibility in picking up the pure pigment of a pastel stick. Either a favorite color or an unexpected color and slam it onto a work.
Better than whiskey on a Friday night.
But lately I have been called to paint in oil. I say “called” because sometimes there is no clear obvious reason. Artists will understand this gut reaction on where to place ones’ feet on a creative path. And my walk now finds me with a brush in my hand.
This weekend is my birthday. Yup, it came around again. Naturally I have been thinking back to where I was one year ago. And rather than thinking about all the things that come with being another year older, I felt the need to list all of the things that are different for me from one year ago.
I think if my life was a movie, I would be at that point where there are no words. The place where the music swells and all that boring, yet significant activity is taking place. The music takes over and all of the training/research/running/long nights without sleep is going on. You know- Rocky is getting hit in the stomach while doing crunches and chasing chickens and running on the beach to “Gonna Fly Now.” I am hearing my music. I have not reached the top of the court house steps yet being chased by children, but I am on the street. And I have had a few victories recently. Winning the “Prix des Pastel” a few weeks ago felt like I caught a very fast chicken.
So many changes…
For example, I have always had poker-straight hair. Well, unless you count those crazy years in the 80s where I had the biggest spiral perms. (Julia Roberts had nothing on me). And I have always fought it, curled it, teased it, sprayed it, etc. Last year I found I was losing my hair by the fistfuls. I was actually worried for my health. But apparently 4- 6 months after a severe trauma, hair can go into “shock” and you can lose your hair. (apparently losing your home, being followed, hacked, betrayed and having the FBI in my life will do that) and you know what? As it has finally grown back in over the last year it has gotten wavy. So I am embracing it. Letting it grow and not even styling it anymore. My hair has become a metaphor for me. Bending and curving and not being so rigid anymore.
I don’t wear eyeshadow anymore either. No time. Things to do.
Teaching. Before last year I only taught in sporadic workshops from time to time. Last year I started teaching at Sweetwater Center for the Arts in the town where I live and where I am on the Board. Teaching there has become a regular part of my week. I have even been asked to teach at Carnegie Mellon University in the Fall. With the quarantine I am not sure that will happen, but it will eventually. I am excited about that.
I learned I like meditation. In the last year I joined a Zen Buddhist Temple and have found meditation to be rewarding and soothing, especially in this time of close-contact-covid fears. I can escape a bit… and with their zoom services, without leaving the house. I have discovered throughout the years that I get good ideas for paintings while getting a massage. Maybe there is something to getting naked on a table with a stranger that brings out the creative side of my brain. Lol! Hmmmm… I have often wondered if I could make weekly massages a business expense.
I am 18 pounds lighter from one year ago. Over 38 pounds lighter from 2 years ago. (The first 20 are attributed to the “divorce diet”). I now practice yoga. I have taken up running, Oh yes- that last one has really surprised the heck out of me as well. I have always hated running. Now it has become my physical therapy. Am I running from the past or running toward the future? I am not sure, but the sweat feels so fucking good.
I formed The Artist Guild over one year ago. And many artists that I have asked to speak or have invited to the meetings are now not just artists that I have heard of or admired for their work, but are now friends. Our gatherings each month have made me so much richer over the past year because of it. We will meet again in person some day soon.
One of the cool things about being an artist is that in the past year I have found myself with a handful of new close friends- amazing, authentic, beautiful souls that are professional artist models. Yup, nude models. And in being around them, working with them and being included in daily chats with these wonderful, open-hearted souls that embrace their bodies and their dreams, writings, visions and creations, I found that it has immeasurably enriched my life. I didn’t know I needed that a year ago. So much gratitude for that. I read a book not that long ago called “Dancing Naked at Sunrise” and it spoke to me in a lot of ways. The biggest thing was that the main character was finding herself again after needing to find and repair her trust. And working up to loving who she was enough to embrace who she was becoming and to feel empowered enough to dance naked in a sunrise without caring who was around. What a lovely thought. And on my model friends’ dare (kicking and screaming) I took some watery photos of myself celebrating me. Never done that before.
And yes, I have taken up a brush. Where will I go with it? I have a few ideas so who knows what I will be doing a year from now. It has already translated very well back into how I handle the pastels. Bouncing between different mediums can be a wonderful thing. Covid has changed my life for the better now in one regard: I am painting every day. Man! I have always wanted to say that. Every day. If I am not picking up a brush or a pastel stick then I am designing new images. That counts. Painting is mostly mental after all. Training… training… music swelling…
So as the music of my life is playing out, I realize that I am not at the top of the courthouse steps yet. I am still learning to run. Still in training:
Happy Birthday to me.
And I will not be skinny-dipping at sunrise anytime soon, but I am working up to it.
Fantastico Christine! Keep on with all you are doing!
hehe! onward and upward!
GOOD GRIEF GIRL !!!
I must say , I am honored to have met your acquaintance .. being formal.
and honored to have accompanied you through a bit of “teaching ?” and honored to call you a FRIEND !
Have a great & HAPPY birthday and I am so proud of you for your great AWARD (even if it is for that pastel stuff ) LOL
Not sure I fully understand this Nude Freedom thing , but as long as you do … good enough .
hehe! thanks John! I am honored to call you friend as well. 🙂
Beautiful post and I love the photo; gorgeous! You are so close to the top of those steps!!! Keep going and we will keep cheering you on.
thanks! I feel like I am following behind you….you are an inspiration….hug!
Happy Birthday Christine! You are living the best years of your life..I did in my 50’s…now 65 things have changed but everything is constantly changing…. I just love reading your blogs because they resonate so much with me and my own thinking and I just have to tell you that everytime I read these I get so emotional. I love that you are focused and strong and are living your truth. I love your image..This is a painting for sure…If you dont do it I will…. anyway keep on growing..You have an army of support and friends you havent met in person yet but we will.. I cheer you!!!!
yay! SO cool that we can support and nurture each other from afar. Yes, we will meet one day! I cheer you!
Wow, you have had a hell of a year! Thank you for sharing your story with us. But now I want to read your entire documentary. Sounds like it reads more like a novel.
Happy Birthday marvelous one
hehe! thanks! It really reads like a Dateline Special…..
Hilarious, my friend 🤣
But seriously your life story is an inspiration, a study in courage, tenacity, beauty, humor and grit!
I’m so proud of you, Christine 👏🏻💕🎨
hehe! grit. love that word…..love you my friend!
The last year in all it’s ups and downs seem to have done you well! You look wonderful!!!
thanks! I feel wonderful….
Christine, I had no idea that you were going through so much. You will be in my thoughts and prayers and perhaps after this quarantine is over, we can meet again. In the meantime, please know that you have made a lasting impression on me as did Rinne. I am also waiting for her book to be published.
hi! I am waiting for Rins book too. She finished it at age 15 and has been editing it ever since. She is at U of Iowa for Creative Writing and I can’t wait to see what she does next……hug! miss you.
Hippo birdies two ewe
And let me know when next barefoot dancing begins!
Thank you very smooch for shining your light on Sweetwater and
I feel a song coming on
LOVELY musings ,celebrate your awakenings. Happy Happy Birthday…
Happy birthday! Have a wonderful weekend. The other day when I asked if you were OK, that I noticed a drastic change in your weight, I was truly concerned. So happy for you. So happy that it’s all good. Life is good. Again have a great weekend.
A very happy birthday Christine!! I miss the Sweetwater presentations, but I’m sure we’ll get there again soon!! Stay well until then, and see you soon!!
yes, see you soon! Until then I am sending you a hug!
Happy Birthday my fellow Taurus, Christine. I too am finding the urge to paint in oil and have the feel of the brush in my hand. I will be watching and listening to what you have to share. Remember, people come in your life for a reason and people LEAVE your life for a reason. The best is yet to come!!
Happy, Happy Birthday, Christine. You inspire me to keep painting even when I am making messes! I love your sharing your thoughts with us. You are inspiring me to continue writing my memoir which has been an ongoing project for several years. Love you and love your photo!
hugs! yes, congrats on that writing! I can only imagine what a huge project that must be. Hope to see you soon. love you too!
Hey Christine, I’m so glad to have read your post. You’re a beautiful writer and artist with a shining soul. Happy happy birthday and Mother’s Day! You’re so transformed I hardly recognize you, gorgeous you!
Hi! Well, I was always impressed by how beautiful you are. I am just playing catch up. Hugs to you. Hope we meet up again one day.
Very inspiring Christine. You write so well, paint so well. You are not just surviving, you are really living! Happy birthday!
Thanks Nancy! Love your work. Hopefully we can meet up again one day.
And on top of all that, you keep sending out these gems, words of wisdom and humour to all of us! I am so grateful for them and you! Happy Birthday!!
thanks so much! It is like writing a diary and being able to share those thoughts with others. I find it very cathartic. And it is so wonderful when others reach out and say they can relate to an issue too. thanks!
You are an amazingly strong person Christine. I hope you have a successful year ahead. It sounds like there are so many possibilities for you, I can’t wait to hear what a fantastic year you’ve had next birthday! I love reading your stories! Thank you for the inspiration!
thanks for sharing the ride with me!
Happy birthday, dear lady.
Wow! Look at those cheekbones!
You’re gorgeous. (Always were)
Happy belated Birthday, Christine! Though it seems like our life is at the end of its rope when something traumatic occurs, sometimes it is actually us entering a different phase of our life! How that phase will turn out is something of which we can’t be certain at the time, but if good fortune is with us, it will be better. When my wife and I divorced seventeen years ago, I felt I had a hole where my heart had been, but fortunately time is (though inconceivable at the time) a great healer. My life, since that time, has consisted of many, many years of post-traumatic happiness!
yay! Heres to post-traumatic happiness! And yes I am so very happy now. So many good things that I could never have imagined before are playing out. Wishing you the best! Hope we can run into each other again some day for another “drug deal”….hehehe
It will be great when we can meet again!! We won’t even need to explain the “Breaking Bad” connection :o).
your soulful voice chokes me up. Thank you for sharing such intimate thoughts and ideas. I appreciate you so much. May there be a basket full of birthdays in your future. I love you. Happy Birthday.
oh Anne! how I love you too. I will never forget how we met…..I am so happy for you as well –IAPS show! go you!
Beautiful woman Happy Birthday to you…..me too (same date)
I am very proud of you and so happy many good things are pointing to your direction. Wishing you Good Luck and Health, Happy always.