Saturday morning I ran twelve miles in an hour and forty-six minutes, which means two inevitable things: one, recovering from a week long sinus guck, a whole lot of farmer blowing; and two, expansive thinking time. As I cleared the space in my head in one way, I filled it to bursting in another. And, thus, I came up with a running epiphany. Let’s see if I can articulate.
When I describe bringing to fruition my “Old Rinkrank” show last October I often express how hard I had to work to make it happen. How hard? So hard, daily sweat and tears hard. So, around mile five, after a little snack and throwing back a coconut water, I asked myself, what do I mean by this? The paintings were so enjoyable to paint and the images came so easily, why do I keep saying it was hard? By mile seven I had formulated an answer.
As a true blue, dyed in the wool, card-carrying, devoted and committed introvert, I need space and quiet. Eons of it. I need long runs, I need reading and slow writing time, and I need sitting in my studio alone time. In other words, thinking time. When I say painting twelve paintings on a theme for one specific due date stretched me, it was not my creativity or effort towards the work that was stretched. I was just a couple sprinted miles into a vast abyss of concepts and creation when I had to slow down and call it the finish line.
The grand effort was spent on clearing away the varied stimuli and obstacles competing for the space in my head. This is a really hard thing to do these days. I have four beautiful children. They like to eat, I like to feed them healthy food. They have school, homework, dirty clothes they don’t want to keep wearing, birthday parties, piano lessons, ballet, soccer, chorus... so on and on. I am a wife. I am an active Mormon. All of these wonderful roles and chores vie for my attention and thinking space.
The epiphany. I need to paint about being a mother. Because so much of my brain is being occupied and stimulated by thoughts and interactions with my kids already, I could use those ideas as fodder to feed my creative process instead of hurdles to jump over to stay on my thought-process-track. If you’re thinking I do that already, I guess you’re right. I did a series with aprons as a symbol of that role. And I call my blog Tenderness and Toil, that’s about being a mother. I guess the epiphany is more about not fighting it; instead letting my whole life live in harmony and making an effort to allow differing aspects to feed each other before they clash. I still have to carve out work time and demand thinking space, reduce my stimuli etc., but I think I can also be clever about tapping into emotions of the tender sort and finding the beauty in the toilly bits.
Mile eight and nine had my head spinning with ideas for paintings and avenues this idea could take me down. After that I wished I had worn a hat because the sun was up and in my eyes and my thoughts were on another topic. I’m super excited to get to work.