The effects of parenting a 4 year old who is inquisitive, creative, likes food and is independent. And pursuing a body of work that is more abstract, has been affecting my brain in peculiar ways.
A few minutes of thought progression is interrupted at regular intervals by an accident, the need to assist, clean up a mess, provide materials, seek a palatable and healthier food option that is immediately wanted. NOW. I get back to the stream of thought to be interrupted by humming, a spectacular and frantic display of dancing, laughter, screams of frustration, cuddles, a proposed outing or elaborate plan which must be discussed. Could you do this for me? The phone rings – ‘thank you for your support in the past we REALLY appreciate it, would you take a book of raffle tickets, we’re not asking you to buy any yourself, just ask your family and friends….” Um, no, actually, not today, all the best with it though. Can I watch this? Oh, OK. I’ve changed my mind, can we watch this one instead? Ah, alright. Actually I’ve changed my mind, can we go to the park? Oh dear. No not today little one, Mummy has to paint. Can I paint too? Well not really, this stuff is a bit dangerous for you to paint with. Can I use my own paints? sigh. alright. I’ll set you up. Oh. sorry – the water spilled.…
I find I have the resulting attention span of a gnat. That hours fly by without anything concrete to show for it – despite the fact that I have been incredibly busy. Paintings that I would have done in 10 hours are taking 20, and while they hold more detail, consideration and depth, the lack of time in the lead-up to the next show concerns me somewhat. I want them all to be perfect.
And abstract is not as easy as it appears. There is the need to distill an image, thought or experience down to a very few elements. It’s not as simple as patterning, or an overwhelming use of a few colours, there needs to be indefinable harmony, and what I am striving for is that knife-edge balance where something is recognisable but on closer inspection is twists into something much less obvious. Which requires reflection, inspection and quiet observation.
In some ways this shattered reflection is helping, in other ways it is hindered. Having only a few moments in my planning days has provided insights that I wouldn’t have otherwise had – brush in palette and deep in work. My brain has become abstracted; darting, intuitive, condensed, harried, a direct channel from soul to hand.
So a day trip to the snow last week was delicious.
Beautiful. Crisp, bright, deep, uplifting, energising. Transformative.
There was peace, devonshire tea, giddy frolicking, and no responsibility. A surrendering to family and basking in the glow of how marvellous we all are, building a snowman, catching shadows, chatting merrily. A delicious re-connection which feeds back into daily life.
Thinking abstractly can be dangerous. looking at the big picture, without studying the smaller patters that make up the whole is easy to do. Condensing the subtle can lead to a glossing over of those delicious moments when the sun streams through the window, the mug is warm in hand and a smile lights up the room. I need to remind myself that life is comprised of patterns, not expanses.
And life. is full of delicious diversions.