The part I love best when I am painting and creating is when I’m in my zone. My creation zone, is an escape from life and its many issues; the bills, the drama, the seeming destruction of humanity, the he said, she said, they said, you’re wrong, you’re right, you’re dumb. I get to escape from all the negativity that seems to ooze from social media and the atmospheres around us. So I create my own heaven, my own escape, my little piece of emptiness, to be totally in the now. You can say when I am in the zone as I call it, meditating, breathing with the planet. When I find my place, I will often not even remember consciously painting. It’s like something or someone else is driving me to paint and create. Sometimes I’ll look at my work and just tilt my head. I know I painted it, but it’s like I didn’t.
2 am. Lying in bed under the soft comfortable sheets, fluffy pillow molded around my head. It’s dark, still no sign of the sun sending its spectrum of light rays over the tops of the Arizona mountains. Spring has arrived. The windows are open, a cool breeze gently floats its way around the house. Its peaceful outside, only the sounds of the night comes from the life still stirring around outside of the house.
I lie there trying to stop the noise, the endless noise filling my head. I stretch my old tired muscles and listen to my joints crack and snap. I try and count the hours I have slept; one, two, three, four, five… no four. But that’s enough, isn’t it? Even if I try to sleep longer, I can’t. It’s not that I’m not tired, I am. But try as I may to catch more shut eye, my art calls me. Some place in my head the battle continues on. Just like it does every night; for every minute, of every hour, of every day the creativity fills every corner of my mind. The yin, the yang; the artist’s gift or curse. I can’t tell the difference. Maybe, it’s something else that is driving me. I can’t tell, but maybe I just don’t want to know. The noise I hear, it’s always yelling, screaming at me. “Get to work. Go paint. Go create. Deadlines. Goals. Ideas. Finish them.” And yet at the same time, it’s a comfortable whisper, reminding me that it’s not work for me. It’s who I am.
Dot. Dot. Splash. Dot, dab, color. Color, dot… I can never get it out of my head. The noise is always telling me, “You know you’re not asleep. Get up, get some coffee. Let’s start the day.”
I know all I have to do is get out of bed. I know that my day officially begins once I press that button on the coffee machine, I already prepped the night before in expectation of my insomnia. I look at the clock. Only 2:15. Maybe I can sleep for another 30 minutes. I close my eyes, but I swear I can smell my morning coffee. “Just get out of bed already. You’re already awake. Now you’re just wasting time. Get up, you have things to do. You’re running out of time, you need to finish.” The ever-growing list of projects and things to do plays on repeat in my head. So I get up, like I always do.
I sometimes wonder about what inspires my art. What drives me to paint a tiny beautiful flower, and then with the same stroke of the brush, paint some disturbing demon without any thought? Sometimes I paint a pointillism style piece, then go right into a realistic painting, then take my palate knife out to create some random splashes of paint and then turn around and work on a painting of my dog. Most of the time, many of these ideas come to me in one sitting. My paint station is filled with multiple paintings, all in different stages of completion, covering many different mediums of creativity. Many people view my space as a chaotic mess. Chaos? I see perfection, calmness. It gives me a sense of relaxation but yet is a visual representation of my desperation to get down all the ideas in my head.
It doesn’t really matter what I’m painting as I am always trying to improve. I will often take a “finished” painting and completely redo it or add to it. Not good enough, it has to be better. I’m not sure if it’s a curse or a blessing.