At one time, I fancied myself an artist. I watched all the half-hour painters on TV like a million other enthusiasts did; I went out and bought paints, brushes, canvases, and everything else the TV personalities said I’d need, and set up a place in my basement just for my new endeavor.
I never thought I’d sell paintings or get rich—or even find anyone who liked what I painted. In short, I didn’t have big expectations. The truth was, I needed something to do after my children left the nest. Most people would say taking care of a four-bedroom house, cooking and doing laundry for my husband and me should have been plenty to do. And it was. However, as they say, I wasn’t fulfilled. I had always been so busy with children, teaching piano and other things that I needed more. And if, by chance, I had more talent than I thought, I reasoned - and it suddenly surfaced – well, then who knows what might happen?
I painted with some success for several years. Trouble was, I was obsessed! If I started a painting, I couldn’t work on it a little at a time until it was finished. No, I had to finish it all at one sitting – or standing, in my case. Sometimes, I stayed up all night just to get the desired effect on a canvas.
Exhausted, I’d fall into bed, sleep a while and wake up with nothing but the painting on my mind. I didn’t want to eat or do housework or go anywhere; all I wanted to do was make sure that painting was as perfect as it could possibly be. I wonder if the great masters were that passionate. Seems to me painting should be a labor of love, not one that wears you out physically, mentally and emotionally.
My husband hated my obsession! He got a little angry every time I’d head for the basement with that inspired look in my eye. When I’d paint all night and have a terrible headache the next morning, he showed no concern. He let me know in no uncertain terms that I had nothing to blame but my own stupidity!
Whenever there was a problem, my mother-in-law would say, “This, too, shall pass.” She was right. Problematic things do seem to take care of themselves, given enough time.
In this case, I got sick. Very sick! For a long time. I saw a doctor and took many antibiotics, but the fever, achiness and coughing wouldn’t stop. I had pneumonia brought on by breathing the fumes from the paint and thinner. When I finally got well, I painted a few more canvases, but had to change my medium. I didn’t like it as well as oils and lost my enthusiasm for the hobby.
I gave most of my paintings away. They hang in the homes of my children and a friend or two – and yes, I have blatantly displayed several of them in my own home.
Sometimes we do foolish things. But if we learn something from everything we do, nothing is wasted.
“One day at a time--this is enough. Do not look back and grieve over the past for it is gone; and do not be troubled about the future, for it has not yet come. Live in the present, and make it so beautiful it will be worth remembering.” ~Anonymous