Happiness often sneaks in through a door you didn’t know you left open. ~John Barrymore
This is part one in a series I’m calling “Every Picture Has a Story”. Periodically, I will select a painting, photo or other artwork to tell either the inspiration behind it, the meaning (this will be rare as I usually prefer the user to discern this), or the story of its creation. I would love your feedback and questions as the series progresses.
In the spring of the year 2000, I was working on finishing my prerequisite classes at Clark College so I could transfer to Marylhurst University to finish my art degree. I had been struggling with my health for the past 2 1/2 years, and it was getting worse. I was so bone-crushingly exhausted, it was almost impossible to stay awake for my classes, when I felt well enough to attend them. I was falling far behind in my schoolwork which was highly unusual for me. I was getting desperate as the end of the quarter loomed, and I had no time or energy to get caught up. It was then that I had my first appointment with Naturopathic physician Carole Warner, who was the first person to acknowledge there was indeed something wrong. So much so, that I needed to stop going to school and not work so I could regain my fast-failing health.
During this hiatus (which ended up lasting two years), I wanted to do *something* toward forwarding my art career. So after a few months of almost nothing but bed rest, I cleaned myself up and went to an art demonstration at Art Media in Happy Valley, Oregon. It was there that I was introduced to the wonderful world of Golden Acrylic paints and mediums. I was in love.
I received free samples at this demonstration, and decided to play with them one day when I was feeling a bit better. I loved the creamy texture and the brilliant color. I wanted to do more, but was still very ill. I rested and waited.
A few months later, the demo was repeated. It was so chock full of information about Golden Acrylics and how to use the paints and mediums, I went back so I could pick up on things I had missed or forgotten. This time, in addition to the samples, I purchased some paint and canvases. It would still be a few weeks before I started working, but when I did, it was heaven.
I was able to paint whenever I felt up to it, and rest when I didn’t. Feeling so poorly, I chose a pallet of bright colors to lift my mood. I created an abstract sketch with a good feel and flow to it, then transferred the sketch the canvas with an Napels Yellow Hue. The paint flowed smoothly and soothingly across the surface.
When filling in shapes I worked with one color at a time, applying them so that both hue and intensity had a pleasing balance across the space. I shifted some colors to create a better composition, then began building up layers … between seven and ten layers per area, depending on how much it took to achieve the desired richness.
Once the waltz of shapes across the canvas were as I wanted them, I mixed Titanium White in increasing amounts, daubing the paint on with the side of a filbert brush to create more of a soft, fluffy, slightly dimensional feel to the work. Applying each daub was very soothing, making me feel light in a body physically dragged down by the weight of utter exhaustion.
As I worked, a feeling of quiet meditation came over me … something that felt healing and peaceful in the midst of my physical struggles. There was no hurry, nowhere to get to … just the paint and I, working in a dance to create something pleasing to the eye and the spirit. It was just what I needed at that time.
After the piece was complete, I came back to it a week or so later to consider its title. To me, the color and flow reminded me of how spectacular a morning on a meadow can feel, looking out over the dappled grasses and flowers … butterflies flitting lightly amongst them while sunlight filters through wafting pollens. It made my heart happy, so I named it “Morning Glory” … after both the flower and the glorious feeling such a morning can have.
I have treasured this piece probably more than most. Other than its pastel predecessor “Dreamweaver” (which sold fairly quickly), it was the first step in creating art connected with spiritual and physical healing. “Morning Glory” has had a prominent place in my home – the focal point when you walk through the door, and visible from the living room, dining room (where it hangs) and kitchen. It has ventured out to such exhibitions as annual Lake Oswego Festival of the Arts and the National Acrylic Painters Association’s 7th Annual International Art Exhibition held in Seattle, Washington. Much as I love it, I hope that sometime this year, it will find a home with someone who can enjoy it as much as I have.
For more information about Morning Glory or to purchase, contact Amy at 360-852-5981 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. (Payment plans available.)