Website Banner

I Paint. What Can You Do?

August 19, 2020 12:29 pm

I am working through a strange time. I have an empty house and soon it will no longer be mine. This painting explores how connected I feel to this place as well as how disconnected I feel: all at the same time. Sometimes, we all must experience events that put a stake in the ground. In this case, the selling of my childhood home marks a giant shift in time. A ginormous stake in the ground. Time has been passing all along, but bit by bit. Now, like the erosion of the shoreline, I see the totality of all the shifts as one giant change. I am left with an experience that is surreal.

Bit by bit. Small change by small change. That’s how this paradise was lost. I remember how it was and I see how it is now. What’s unsettling is that I won’t get to see what will be. The house won’t be mine anymore, so I won’t get to walk in the door and see the shifts. This liminal inevitability has arrived.

I try to capture all the shifts in time on my canvas. This helps reconnect me to what is disconnected for me. I wait hesitantly for next week when doors will shut with finality. Our Christmas tree will never again stand in the corner of the living room. My coffee pot will never boil over on stove once more. I am holding my breath: as though that could freeze time. This is happening while it feels like time is standing still. For me, this is all a profound experience of liminality.

Creating lets me see the end of a long journey of accepting things I thought I’d never accept. Seeing this, ironically, brings me home. As the hands of time move, I try not to focus on a place, a person, or an event. I choose a different lens that lets me see time for what it is: the truth that something just happened. I paint to mark the passing of these moments. On my canvas you will find moments of significance for me.

All the ways I am experiencing time is normal. Liminality can be strange and disorienting. It can also be a gift. It makes us notice that the sand is shifting. It makes us see the tiny changes before the stake goes in the ground to mark the more significant shifts. I am grateful that my paintbrush reorients me. Exploring liminality through my creative process anchors me.

I challenge you to find a creative way to notice your sands shifting on your shoreline. How can you make sense of time’s passing? What tangible, meaningful act can moor you as the waves of time ebb and flow? I paint. What can you do?

I Paint. What Do You Do?, 2020