Saturday, February 07, 2015

Dabbling in Paint Therapy

Ghost of #2.
In winter, I heat only part of my house, and I often spend evenings in my warmest room painting wee small thingies on little panels. The panels rarely exceed 6 x 6 inches in any direction, but occasionally I substitute other   materials upon which to paint such as wooden bowls or ceiling tiles.  I "read" an audio book or put on a favorite movie to listen to while fervently not wasting time (as in watching bad television).  Like most artists who formerly worked a day job, "evenings for art" is a habit difficult to break, even now when I often paint all day as well. 

Tuxedo cat on tin ceiling tile
It's more than just habit though.  Making these little paintings relaxes me. By offering an outlet akin to journaling, I can translate my day or my dreams into images. And even if I don't create any masterpieces, I am working.  I am producing.  I am fulfilling my drive to create, which assuages "artist guilt" over time I might have wasted in the past. I can feel good about myself (wink and grin)!  The artists out there will understand.

There are no rules.  Depending on mood, I might portray anything from the little birds I love to versions of faces in my head, bits of dreams or imaginings. Sometimes I see images clearly and paint what is there. "What is there" has been on occasion, a manifestation of something or someone unpleasant, like an ex-husband's haunting expression of scorn or superiority (hah - see photos).  Painting it out works just like talking it out. I can rid myself of certain mental junk by examining and portraying what is in my mind's eye. When I can hold it in my hand, I have power over the image, memory, mood - and I can literally put it aside for later scrutiny, laugh at it, or banish it altogether!  The power of symbolism is extraordinary! 
Ghost of #1.
The apple cheeked lady.
I've found it helps to keep the palette somewhat limited.  Again, mood may determine the colors selected, but just as often I choose favorite combinations such as all the colors found in apples or lavender, celery and acid green with varied hues of white. When I am creatively upbeat, the paint will often have its own way; leading me to new interpretations of things recently seen, or even resolving old visual/perceptual difficulties.  Sometimes I don't even try to do anything challenging, painting cat faces or little dolls that I will never sew.  On these occasions, painting is like knitting or crocheting: an exercise to keep the hands busy while the mind refreshes with aimless wandering.

Sparrow #1.  Sold.
Some of the little paintings have never left my house.  Others become gifts for friends.  And quite a few end up for sale.  I really didn't exhibit them much until recently when I began a series of small works for my newly opened Etsy space.  I was surprised by how much others enjoyed them... even the creepy ones! 
Dolly with an ouchie.
What cats think.
Mr. Bland


Roy said...

And I'm tickled pink to be a recipient of one of your minis, so I'm glad you do these little "journals". Oh yeah, and your calendar finally arrived here, so it should be on its way to you this week.

Debra Keirce said...

You should consider entering some miniature shows Patrice! There is a great one coming up at if you want to check it out.

Linda said...

These are all lovely, and being an animal and nature lover, my favourites are the cat and birds. Warm greetings from Montreal, Canada. :)

Patrice said...

Hey Debra, thanks - I may just do that!

And Linda, thanks for stopping by - the cats and birds are my favorites too!

Mrs Mac said...

They are all WONderful :)