So … my first attempt at the “Blended Family” project …
Remember how I said I’ve spent several moments standing in the art aisle at random craft stores staring blankly into space? It’s like I’m paralyzed with fear that if I invest in new paints and brushes and a pretty canvas, I’ll just screw it up.
Then, the other day, I looked out my window and it occurred to me: That couch sitting on the porch, the one we are about to take to the dump … If I flip it backwards, that just might work as a canvas.
In some art therapy classes, I’ve heard of students dumping their black thoughts on a blank canvas and then covering them with a fresh beautiful creation.
My process was a bit more physical. For the kind of trauma I’ve experienced–and was feeling that day–a sharpie just didn’t seem to cut it. (Forgive the pun. Or don’t! Ha!)
Instead I held the knife firmly in my shaking hands and stabbed and slashed the canvas. Therapeutic? Yes. Definitely.
Next, I began brushing, smearing, pouring the colors out of my heart and onto the surface before me.
I’m not really an artist, as is evidenced by my childlike creation, but I have to say … I have never felt my soul pour out onto a canvas like that before. It was so physical.
I handled each family member (or their favorite color), smearing them and blending them and gushing them through my fingers.
I built the structures slowly, layer upon layer.
It helped me tell my stories and make sense of them. Others examining my painting might not see my stories, but I do. I know the players, and I know where they fit in my life.
I’ve never experienced anything quite like it.
Then I cut it down, like a real canvas.
And it is now lying across my kitchen table.
I’m not sure what I will do with it. Maybe it’s just a start. A brainstorm. A BIG one! I just might roll it up and begin again and again and again. Like our family.
But it’s a start.