Self-prescribed Art Therapy

You probably already know where I’m going with this.
I complain a lot about all the stresses in my life, don’t I? Of course this is compounded by the stresses of the political and social climate of our country (and the world), of which I can do little but do what little I can- apply my vote where it may count, and prevent my dollars from going to organizations and retail establishments that don’t support the views I hold dear, that kind of thing.

Closer to home, the art gallery I belong to (and have been board president at for several years now) has become embroiled in some silly political machinations because one member of the board is unhappy that the rest of the board doesn’t support her ideas, all of which are aimed at getting her more “power”. There is also a lot of animosity between her and one particular member (not me) who really gets under her skin. It’s not fun to watch. But she doesn’t want to be president, she just wants to get her way. Kinda like a toddler, you know?

It reminded me of when my eldest was about 18 months old, and tried banging her head on the floor when she didn’t get something she wanted. The hardest thing I did was tell her that I loved her but I was not going to stay and watch her do that to herself, and then I walked away. She tried that particular maneuver one more time after that, with far less enthusiasm, and a similar response by me.

I think it’s time to walk away from the board, and so I will. The only question for me now is whether I do it sooner or later. My term ends in November. It will depend on how the next month or so goes. Either way, not only will I leave the position, but I plan on leaving the board entirely. I’ve done a lot of good for the gallery, mostly very much appreciated, but it’s someone else’s turn now.

This is where art therapy comes in. I can take out a lot of physical stress on the pounding and wedging of clay when I prep it for making things. The other part, of course, is making paintings. The tougher things get, the more I want to paint serene images devoid of people, and concentrate on something beautiful.

Having the actual time to do that has been limited, not just by gallery business, but also by my very enthusiastic embrace of pottery, and music as well. My BLP has a very busy music calendar- he performs alone, and also with another fellow in an Irish music duo- but I had agreed to do about 6 gigs with him this summer, requiring me to actually practice. (We do blues, Americana, some vintage rock and classic country.) It’s going just fine.

So I found some time for me this week, and in three sessions was able to complete a small and very fulfilling piece. it’s only the eighth painting I’ve one this year. (Most years I’ve completed about 30 -or more- by the end of June.)

The joy in this piece was the challenge of playing with a rather limited palette and trying to illustrate the clean glow of yellow light on the horizon while making sure the water and sky devolved into deep indigo without getting muddy. It’s been a picture in my mind for a long time, and it felt good to get it out onto a board. It’s an imagined view of Sinclair Inlet on the Puget Sound, but could really be anywhere the sun comes up over any calm inlet.

I feel better now.

“Summer Morning Glow”
12″ x 24″, oil on board