I've been painting a lot lately. Lots of scrubbing my arms to get various colors off and throwing on a sweater so my arms don't show. Lucky it's been rainy and chilly.
My paint choices have been interesting to me. Although, strangely, not to the people who see them. I've had so many people say, "That is SO you." That makes me happy. I've begun choosing for me. I'm not sure when I stopped, maybe before I got married, maybe when we bought the house, but there was definitely a time before we came to Texas that I starting choosing the "right" things, the "classy" things. I only looked at the painted things, the gypsy princess things, for fun.
I like gypsy princess things. There, I've said it. I'm a 44 year old, comfortably plump, mother of 3 who adores all those wild colors and textures. The feast for the eyes that is portrayed in the dusty, sultry, colorful chaos that is evidently going to be MY style. But it's not just gypsy princess stuff, I love the cacophony of color that a pile of quilts can bring...not tasteful quilts (I mean those are pretty too)...but sumptuous quilts...jewel tones...rich browns and greens...bright sunshine yellow...and I like them puffy. And quilts usually aren't...at least not the ones I've made in the past.
As I paint, I'm discovering how much I like my hands. Honestly, I've never really thought about my hands much...I mean, I unashamedly bite my nails and have since I was a baby...in this society that means we don't speak of them. But I like them...I like washing a paint brush under water and watching the colors glide through my fingers and splatter on the sink...it's beautiful. I like the feel of wet paint between my fingers or the slipperiness as I accidentally sink my finger into it on the unseen side of the piece I'm picking up. The end of a project...all the colors on my fingers and hands and brush...feels like a tangible glimpse of history.
I like the medium that is paint. It's messy and hard to remove from places it touches. It's semi-permanent so it leaves it's mark. I've known this about me for a long time, this joy in leaving a mark. I have a plastic table cloth that I've used for projects since before my kids were born. If those stains could speak, they would remember the laughter...the mess...that was my life...and my family's life in that snapshot of time.
I like the first coat of paint. The one that you can still see through. It's the first time the you decide whether you will love or hate the project. If it's pretty good, you know that a second coat will just make it better...and if you hate it? Well, why bother with the second coat? May as well pick a different color.
I love the second coat. The one that WILL be there until you paint it again. The brush strokes and finger prints that prove that on some Sunday afternoon you were there, listening to music, maybe dancing and singing a long, leaving your mark...your proof of life.
People don't often think of walls or painted furniture as art. So often we look at a space and think, "Man, it is TIME to repaint," and I'm not denying that a fresh coat of paint does wonders for sprucing up a place or a piece. But I'm starting to wonder about the hands that held the brush before me. The layers before mine. I'm at least the third layer of paint on my walls...probably the fourth, because it is clear to me that the paint went from bright to neutral before me, and I would bet just from the evidence left on the popcorn ceiling that there was a neutral before the bright. So builder, home owner, painter (probably, or skilled friends of home owner, because that neutral layer was done far better than the one before it) and then me. That's actually quite a few brush strokes. Quite a few lives that have touched my house, if only in passing. I wonder what they were thinking when they painted. I wonder what they are doing right now. How has their life changed since they stood in my living room painting the walls that would become mine. There is so much left to imagine in the layers.
I think that may be what I love the most about paint...The history.
My life is full of layers. It's full of memories and experiences that overlay one another. Good follows bad, joy follows sorrow, an ever turning wheel that I can not and would not change. My Bible, my journal and now my walls are full of my prayers. When I close my eyes, I can see the moments, hear them, the layers of people that have built up like paint around my soul. I'm thankful for them...those people who are part of who I am...those ones who have made a mark that will never wash off. In so many ways, I am their proof of life...and they are mine.
See ya around...