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Painting The Unknown

Motivation Monday

My husband Marty and I took our first get away early spring of 2021 when we felt a bit more safe venturing out. We headed to the San Juan Islands in WA to stay at a little lodge on a lake. I purchased two paint by number kits for fun and a little creative time out in nature. On a beautiful Saturday morning, we took the row boat out in a little lake and Marty pulled the oars in and we both started on our creative artsy task. It was so peaceful. I do have to say, I did more painting and Marty did more rowing. LOL!

Since that wonderful get away, I've tackled three other paint by numbers. Yes, it's addicting and so satisfying. My first was a moon and tree, second was a pier and ocean and finally my latest one - the one Marty was starting to work on our get away at the lodge on the lake. I kept it in a safe space so when he had time to work on it, it would be ready.

Well, with house updates during COVID from flooring, painting, trim, doors, landscaping, and such is what Marty loves to get lost in. It's satisfying and rewarding. I get to look at these changes on the house everyday and I'm so grateful. Of course, there is always something to complete and it's a work in progress. We love to do these projects together. He does most of the hard work I gotta say. I do the decorating!

So, needless to say, Marty never got around to finishing his own paint by numbers. On our latest house project, I was cleaning the shelves in the family room closet and found this paint by numbers canvas in a box and the brushes still intact. I pulled it out of the box and took a look at the incomplete canvas. Tiny gray numbers scattered all over. So much detail and I thought it would take forever so I shoved the canvas in my closet and the brushes in a jar with the numbered paints. I threw the box and sample picture away because I was on a cleaning frenzy of purging and reorganizing rooms, closets, and drawers. Simplifying right?

Last month, in September, as Fall was knocking at the door, I was cleaning out my closet and I discovered this canvas snuggly hidden in the corner. I smiled and said, "Perfect! I'm going to take this on our next getaway to the cabin on the lake and work on." Now, I just needed to remember where I put the paints and brushes. LOL! Lo and behold I found them and added them to the packing for our trip.

I'm kind of a fly by the seat of my pants, creative, extrovert, and adventure seeker. Someday I'd love to paint on white canvas and just let things flow. Right now I feel a little shy about expressing myself on a blank canvas. I hope to graduate some day from staying within the lines to my own creative flow.

For now, I'll just have fun as I paint, meditate, breathe, pray, and listen to music, podcasts, or books. Carving out this time has been healing and has unlocked my creative writing more and more.

Following the color by numbers is pretty easy. This canvas painting project however looked a bit daunting. Since it had been so long just sitting around, the paints were drying out. I'd add water to make the paint stretch but before long I started running out of paint. So instead, I just added my own creative flare and used different color numbers. Baby steps to coloring outside the lines!

Again, we rowed out into the beautiful lake. This lake was much bigger and the canoe required both of us to row. We found a spot that was open, safe, and quiet. Lily pads touched the canoe as the wind drifted us around.

Marty read a novel written by a friend of ours.

I set the canvas on my lap I didn't know where to start. So many pieces to the art puzzle. I'm not a follow the sequence kind a gal. I just look at a color and say, "OK number 10 here we go!" I jump all around the numbers game. It's more fun that way.

I love how you can't even make out what the canvas picture is. Head down and totally focused on numbers and colors. It's only when I pull the canvas back a bit occasionally during the process, I can see things coming into focus.

Kind of a good life lesson. We can't see the future or what's ahead and sometimes our focus is only on the sliver of color in front. It's when we step back and take a different point of view. Learning to work through the process with patience and perseverance is when hope emerges and things become clearer with each stroke of the brush in this colorful life.

Creative writing is a similar process. I have so many ideas swirling around in my mind. Carving out time to write everyday about my current children's story project, a new children's story idea, a blog post, journal entry, or poem opens the doors to possibilities that I can't see quiet yet but know when I step back and breathe I choose to lean into hope. Isn't that what dreaming is all about?

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