Thursday, June 9, 2011

No Labor Of Love

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


Anonymous said...

This is beautiful. And you were a good painter. What a shame it made yuou sick.

shanna said...

To bad you had to stop painting. I like this one very much peg.

sam said...

another good one peg. very good in fact. sam

Anonymous said...

You have a lot of talent peggy. Seems you can do most anyhthing.

tammi said...

show us some more of your artwork peg.

Anonymous said...

I'd love to see more of your paintings peg. this one is very nice.

Patricia said...

I think it's too bad that you got sick from painting. You were so good at it. I'd like to see more.

Adele,Jan, and Susan said...

Not surpising that your painting is a snow scene. you've told us how much you love winter and snow. did you paint any summer scenes?