July 16th was the day I felt freedom for the first time in a long time. In my favorite city of Chicago, sitting on the floor cross-legged, I had a blank canvas in front of me. My friend, Rachael, was already painting. As the “Have a Good Day” Spotify playlist played in the background, I looked at my blank canvas. I had to think. I couldn’t put anything onto the canvas until I had an idea. So, I finally eyed the color that I wanted. It was a beautiful turquoise color. It stood out among the bunch. This was it. I was finally going to paint.
In the corner of my eyes, I see Rachael going to town on her canvas. With little regard to any vision she may have had, she just layers colors on colors. Her fingernails are now a different color with a mixture of acrylic paint slowly drying on her hands as she is in her own world. I’m jealous because I won’t let myself do that. I’m trying to make sure that the paints stay on the clean plate I’ve put a couple dabbles on. The horror to imagine the paint getting into my manicured nails. I don’t know if this will stain or now. So, I carefully caress the canvas with my flathead brush as I cover the canvas with a sea of seawater blue. Every stroke feels like I’m transferring any stress from my body to the canvas. The energy is turned from stress to relief. However, in the corner of my eye, I see Rachael has now taken a cup, mixed with various colors proceeds to pour the entire cup onto the canvas. My GOD! I’m not OCD, but the mess! I’m freaking out in the inside, but more than anything I’m jealous. She’s so free. She is painting to paint without the restrictions of a vision. How ever her canvas turns out, it will be great. It’s a guaranteed masterpiece because of the energy put into.
At this point, I decide to get a little “frisky” and take a copper, metallic paint and softly stroke some on the canvas. It’s always a stroke. Precise and intentional. Boring. It’s okay. I’ve definitely painted something like this before. I know how it’s going to true out before I’m even finished. It’s my usual. It’s creative, but not risky. Just enough not to get me out of my comfortable zone. I don’t know what to do next because although this is quite boring, it’s nice. But, I’m jealous. I’m jealous because I realize I care completely too much. I was so close to asking Rachel to give me another canvas because this one was ugly (more so basic). It wasn’t going to be revived. I almost said that. But, thankfully I did something that I will forever be grateful for.
Taking a note from Rachael, I take all of the colors that spoke to me and I squeezed them on the back of the plate. Then I did something I would NEVER do at home. I took my perfectly structured canvas and splatted the paint on my canvas. And I did it again. And I did it again. And I did it again. When I ran out of paint, I put more on the plate and repeated the process. Every time I splattered the plate onto the canvas, I didn’t know what would happened, but I kept on going. I just did what felt good. I kept on splatting until I was satisfied. Then I looked at my canvas in complete shock. It was nothing I would expect, but it was everything I loved. It was free. It was freedom.
My canvas turned into art because I gave myself the chance to be free for once and not put expectations on the outcome. I did what felt good. I did what felt free. Sitting and looking at my canvas, I couldn’t believe I made something so out of bounds. What a masterpiece. What a mess and a masterpiece at the same time. My hands were now covered with paint. I didn’t even reach for a paper towel. I just asked for another canvas because I wanted to feel that again. I wanted to allow myself to feel and not think. Just do what feels good. Art is about feelings. If you don’t feel when you make it, no matter the sentiment, you aren’t really making Art. So, I attribute July 16th as one of my many recent awakening moments. That’s the night I fell in love with painting because I felt it. So, thank you to Rachael for being fearless and showing me that it’s okay to let loose. Here’s to painting more blank canvases and allowing myself to be free.
So, whatever makes you feel free, do that.