This morning I am relaxed and alert after a good night’s sleep. I woke too early to a distant peculiar high-pitched whine; the train in the distance crawling slowly through the night, sometimes loud, sometimes noisy, doesn’t often wake me but in the wee hours this morning it did. It wasn’t relevant to the overall quality of my sleep, or this lovely quiet morning over coffee.

I enjoyed quite a nice weekend, and although I started it having to deal with my challenges it was skillfully done, generally, productive, emotionally nourishing, fun, relaxing, and fairly entertaining. I spent much of it at home in this beautiful space I am creating for myself, and a lot of it painting. I’ve been needing this so much – over the years of adult creative lifetime I have yearned for adequate space to paint. I’ve done some amazing work perched on the edge of couches, crouched on the floor in a corner, spread out across kitchen counters, dining tables, or on an easel of good quality and sturdiness wedged into a corner of one room or another, cautious about paint being flung thoughtlessly here or there… attentive to immediately clean up, every day, every time… I’ve gotten close to have real studio space once or twice, only to see it jerked out of reach at the last minute. I was well into my 40’s – almost 50 – when I understood how much I yearned for dedicated creative space to work. I put it aside as a fantasy. I put it aside as unreachable – so many times. (If this isn’t obvious; it was often my own choices that put fulfillment of this desire out of my reach.)

Most of my partners and lovers have respected my artistic side, some of have truly loved my work; I feel certain that had it been commonly understood how badly I needed more room to work – understood by me, myself, too – I’d have been ‘here’ sooner. One of life’s many missed details – handled. I smile thinking about how many conversations with my traveling partner over the years have come back to making a viable solution to the need for room to paint become a reality for me – even our very first conversations as friends often wound around back to quality of life matters being needfully inclusive of this thing I did not have at that time; he recognized it as a ‘need’ when I still thought of it as a daydream without substance, forever out of reach. Over the course of our 5 years together, he has regularly pointed out potential solutions – and when it was clear that there was profound value for me (and us) in my living quite separately day-to-day, it was the artistic space that sold the idea first, healing was a bit of an afterthought (for me). I’ve been well-supported in this partnership – as an artist, as a woman, as a human being, and as a friend. How the hell do I say ‘thank you’ for all that?? Well… by painting, I guess, and making the choice to live alone have value beyond the separateness of it. 🙂

One of the faces of Love, and another way to take care of me.

One of the faces of love, and another way to take care of me.

I spent the weekend in my studio. I love the way that sounds. I spent it getting it set up, and using that time of making order out of chaos to ‘get my head right’ on Saturday morning (Friday afternoon and evening I wasn’t really good for much, dealing with a flare up of my PTSD and focused on very basic self-care). By midday Saturday I was painting. Sunday I was painting. Monday I was painting. Somewhere in the midst of all that, I found time to read, to eat, to shower, to love – the love matters most, perhaps, but without all that other stuff, who is here to be loved? I enjoyed the time I spent with my traveling partner Sunday – and there was no awkwardness in his departure. “What would you be doing if I left now?” he asked pleasantly after hanging out a while. I smiled and gave it some thought, the answer was an easy one, “I’d be in the studio, sitting with the new colors and the canvases I am working on, thinking about that”. He smiled back at me and observed that the timing seemed good. No stress, no emotional weirdness – an easy (for both of us) comfortable (for both of us) departure, freeing us (both) to move on with the day quite naturally. It was quite lovely, both the time together, and the time apart. What more could I ask of love?

There are now four canvases in various stages of completion in my studio, and they are not a frenzy of similarly themed work using a similar palette for economy. They are not being rushed through to avoid inconveniencing a household starting a new work week. Each is an entirely unique experience with color, texture, subject; I am able to slow my pace to a moment by moment approach that feels completely different – and worth exploring. Mindful painting? Is this a thing? The path veers in a new direction…

…I walk on, enjoying the view as I begin again. Today is a good day for art, for music, for words – a good day to feed my heart and my soul, not just this fragile vessel. 🙂