When is the last time you felt truly deflated, no, gutted and sickened by the events unfolding before you? For me twas a few short days ago when I irreversibly marred four paintings during the final stages of a resining procedure. I knew it was all going very wrong when the sides of the container that was holding the resin began to melt. Oh dear God, no...I looked askance at my paintings which immediately began to sport congealing blobs of a Jabba-the-Hutt-like substance, where mere seconds earlier there had been smooth, glass-like pools of epoxy resin. I tried to smooth them out, but in the process I could see small bits of paint lifting off the hardboard as I tried to manoeuvre the ever thickening gloop. Maybe I could somehow make it seem like I meant to do this????? I poked the gloop in varying directions and tried to create some sort of visual balance, imagining that I could turn the thickening epoxy lava into a new kind of appealing, textured finish. I could not. There would be no faking it. Sigh. I stood there in mute disbelief then turned off the light and walked away, leaving my paintings lying askew like abandoned carcasses. As I plodded up the stairs I began tallying the cost of the supplies I needed to create the paintings. Then I replayed in my mind all the hours I had spent perfecting each one in my studio. In a final moment of defeated agony I sat down at the kitchen table and contemplated all the tasty, albeit unhealthy food I could eat that would undoubtedly make me feel worse.
The next morning I got up, hauled my paintings outside and leaned them against the back shed. I decided that I would hang them on the side of the shed that faces the alley so the dog walkers and back yard snoopers could view my work in all its imperfect splendour. Once I hung them up I was reminded of all the decorated barns and sheds that I had seen over the years and realized that maybe our back shed had been in need of a little funkifying. My mangled paintings seemed to take on new purpose.
I brought my boyfriend out to view my handiwork and he declared that our new fence would block the art from view and that we should relocate it to the front of the shed so we could all enjoy it. Enjoy it? I felt so good about it being out of view, yet still receiving an audience of anonymous alley strollers. I wasn't sure I was ready to commit to a lifetime of examining the paintings so soon after their unseemly demise.
Armed with a drill, measuring tape, ladder and a level, Rich began to hang each piece on the front of the shed. He determined that the sides of each painting would need sealing and made individual drip caps for each piece. I suddenly felt touched that he was taking so much care in hanging my work on the shed. I could feel myself letting go of the idea that the paintings should have or could have been hanging in a gallery, that I could have sold them for money or at least given them to people I loved. In an uncommon moment of awareness I decided to let go of my expectations and ideas and enjoy the backyard art project that was so sweetly and spontaneously unfolding before me.
I think it is important to take the time to discover what our gifts are and then work hard to perfect those gifts; to put our hearts into our endeavours, our whole hearts and be brave about trying new things. As long as we follow those principals and do not get too attached to the outcomes, maybe everything really does work out in the end.