Monday, March 2, 2015

Getting Messy

A couple Sundays ago, I found myself smack-dab in the middle of one of my worst nightmares. In the car, Nathan told me he wasn't feeling well then proceeded to vomit into a bag... that had a giant hole at the bottom. It took every ounce of strength for me to drive home without vomiting as well.

Over the next few hours, I poured all my energy into washing vomit out of the car and his clothes. Then I had to disinfect every surface he may have touched, and do all sorts of other cleaning to distract myself from the atrocity that was unfolding. It is so hard to have emetophobia and be empathetic and care for a sick child at the same time. Between cleaning and checking up on Nathan, I had to do something else calm myself down.

So I sat down to paint the cover of my December Daily album. Afterwards, Caleb decided he also wanted to paint so I let him use some watercolours. He did that for a bit but it wasn't enough for him - the colours weren't bold enough, the paint didn't "last" long enough. He wanted to use acrylics just like his mom. By this point, I was too exhausted to argue with him so I braced myself and let him go wild with my paints.

Caleb squeezed colours straight from the tube, moved them around the paper with his brush, then selected his next colour.

I have always wondered how people paint, especially abstractly. I've always been curious to know whether painters have a picture in their mind that they re-create on their canvas, or if they approach a blank canvas with nothing in mind, letting their brush move freely. Of course, I can't generalize and just say this is how all artists do it, but watching Caleb over the next half an hour gave me a little glimpse into maybe what happens inside the mind of an artist, or at the very least, in Caleb's mind.

As he chose colours, he explained to me that one side was the goodies (black) and the other side was the baddies (yellow). He added grey to help the goodies, then added colours to help the baddies. He'd drag one colour to touch the next, saying things like, "red is having a piggy back on yellow".

I can now understand his painting as not just a random smooching together of colour. There is a story behind why he chose certain colours and where they are on his page, why some colours are touching and some are not. One day, the story behind this painting will probably be forgotten but the beautiful art will still be there.

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