I was making plans when I painted these just as I am making plans now. I had forgotten. The bouquets were experiments in painting.
I was leaving one place — literally leaving — I was quitting my job. Husband and parents thought it was a bad idea. I quit anyway. I suppose they all knew me well enough to suspect that I would do whatever I wanted. And I thank each one now — daddy, momma, husband — in the quiet of my head and heart because they provided a healthy dose of obstacle — not that I viewed their reactions in those terms at the time. Rather, I see it now. Seeing the obstacle they manufactured — their gifts — makes me wonder right now about the obstacles that I face right now. How many of them are gifts in disguise?
I have been the loud proponent of mistakes in art. Through making mistakes you learn. Art has the great luxury of affording human beings considerable latitude in mistake making. In art sometimes the mistake opens a door into new territory. Screw up a drawing, learn that exaggeration in art hides expressive possibility. You learn that lesson not in vague terms as I declare it now in words but in the precise, specific way of a tangible shape in some particular drawing.
Looking back I can see how taking my family’s advice also might have led to a good path. Perhaps I should have heeded them and this path I took was “the mistake.” It’s difficult to say, really only a matter of interpretation. Had I taken their advice, I would still have needed to make important changes. I thought back then that I needed to change my outward circumstances. Now I’m more inclined to see the inward changes as being most needful.
“Six of one and a half dozen of the other.” One thing I love about my family, especially remembering these events, is that whether I kept the job or left it none of them intended to make a big deal of it for very long. They thought quitting was a mistake. All of them thought so. They said so. I quit against their advice. All the lines were redrawn. Life rolled along.
I trust my intuition. I made the right choice. And I needed the obstacle gifts they gave.
Anyway, the flower paintings were doors and windows. I am building a new metaphorical house in thought and I decided to use — to install — these particular portals. I want to look at a flower world.
Cleaning house has brought me close to the past. I find things that “spark joy,” as Marie Kondo puts it. I have also found things that evoke regrets and loss. Where to put things comes later in Kondo’s scheme. First you discard, later you organize. Me, I have parts of the past to discard — aspects of my own personality to discard also. Or, at least I intend to put certain personality features into deep storage. Impatience or a bad temper might be useful on some exceptionally rare occasion. I’ll want my impatience and anger then — perhaps.
For now, I reshuffle aspects of my personality and intend to keep only the traits that I really use along with ones that “spark joy.” I write this so blithely. Naiveté lends charm to certain bold acclamations. I am building a mental house and hopefully the physical house will conform to it. For sure, the physical house is much easier to clean and arrange.