I’ve been working on a painting of a butterfly the last couple days, putting it aside today so the paint can dry. I’ll return to it later. When I have several projects going at once, I get the most done. I flit from one to another, like a butterfly foraging among flowers, and some of them do get neglected, but my painting, overall, benefits from the casting around for ideas that comes from doing many things.
But sometimes an idea, a thing, a desire, an ambition gets put away for a long time, gets relegated to the attic of life. How does one retrieve it? Do you nose around in the attic to see what you’ll find? Just yesterday we heard the announcement of a “new” Van Gogh. How many treasures has a person got stored away inside the attic of the past? When is the last time you looked up there?
“When a passion lies inside, unable to be expressed, it will have a strength upon its awakening that will carry one forward with a greater determination than before,” said Linda, my internet friend that I’ve never actually met. She must have been reading my mind, as well as the minds of several others.
When I first began painting in high school, I made a picture of a butterfly. It was pretty awful, but I must have had a reason for choosing the subject. And these many years distance from my beginning, a butterfly has called me back. Soon after my youth, I learned that my motifs and my ambition were considered old fashioned. In my twenties I was already, by the “art world’s” reckoning, a dinosaur. I didn’t care. I did as I pleased.
It turned out that I wasn’t a dinosaur, that plenty other artists wanted to paint in ways similar to what I wanted, that the directness of seeing and recording was alive, well and vigorously being practiced as I would learn decades later via the internet.
But even if life had not given me permission to do what I please, I would have done it anyway. I did do it anyway. I thought my own personal life mattered. And it did! And it does still. So I’ll paint all the butterflies that I please ….