Pain(ting Class)

For the past two years I have been getting a teaching credential, while teaching full time. You can imagine it – no time to do what I want to do. As time passes, doing what I want to do becomes an ever-increasing desperation. So many people and things pulling at me that it becomes difficult to know who I am at times. I am always someone in relationship to something else. When there finally is time, a sense of guilt descends. Is it really all right to be so selfish? Shouldn’t I be running off to the next project? That is, the next project for the students or the credential?? And reading for pleasure? No, it is anatomy and physiology and physics, along with making sure this “i” is dotted, and that “t” is crossed.

Now the credential is done. Most classes are prepped. Enter the California budget crisis. Thus far, I’ve been spared, but there is always that wondering in the back of my mind, the worry, the anxiety. Now I prepare for other things, being pushed into action on things I was going to do later.

Painting, more than anything, is really the most selfish thing I do in my life. No one is allowed to bother me. I get to express myself on paper. Then the doorbell rings. The dogs bark. I feel like screaming. Certainly not conducive for getting into the zen of it all. I feel angry and guilty.

The fact is, I’ve not done any consistent painting for almost two years, less in the past one. I’ve lost my connection with brush and paper, and I’ve lost my knowledge of color and how it all comes together. Tonight I was going to do the peony from class, and I got into hating my brushes. Too soft, too this, too whatever. The fact was, it was me.

I wanted to “produce” when in reality, the best thing to do was play. I pulled out a pile of various Chinese papers I’d cut some time ago, and off I went, not worrying about color or type of paper, or anything. Some of it was pure crap, other things I liked. I held the brush close to the bristles, other times I stood up and held the brush loosely, and just swooped, smooshed, and curved.

Um, I had fun!


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