When my sales team gave me a 20” x 20” canvas, a set of oil paints, and brushes as a gift, I was moved and humbled. I remember holding back the tears at their thoughtfulness and expressions of love.
They knew my story of this new found ability and passion as a result of a stroke the year before. It took me several months to decide on the type of painting I would create. It needed to be special and I would take my time.
I wanted it to be intuitive and abstract. Having taken a course online, I had learned a new concept and decided to use the technique as I stared at my blank canvas. Over the next 6 months, I worked on the first layer and then another and another, each unique from its predecessor and building on its foundation below.
Oils take time to dry, so the process is slow. Some painters don’t have the patience for oils and choose other mediums like acrylic or watercolors which dry almost instantly. I have created many paintings in both and enjoy it. Yet, oil’s slow drying process allows the artisan a creative dance of push and pull which gives way to originality with every stroke of the brush or instrument.
Other than the required art classes during grade school, I have never taken art lessons. As an amateur, I’ve become a student and I watch professional artists and their stories available on YouTube and social media.
One of the learnings which has stayed with me and helped me as I worked on this piece is that when you paint intuitively, the painting “reveals” itself to you. After the third layer and weeks of looking at it on my easel, something spoke to me and a faint revelation of a face appeared in my subconscious and eyes. Once this happened, it all became clear and in the next few months, I allowed the painting to take me through to what would become “The Man In The Mirror.”
My favorite, now in my home gallery and collection, it speaks to me deeply and has revealed itself differently to other viewers in my family. To my mother-in-law, it’s her late husband reaching out with wide-open arms. To my sister-in-law, it’s Jesus.
It surprised me, that it revealed itself as my late husband.