This fall my own book was released for publication. In addition to my normal work, I built several new websites, created an entire new book for my husband and published it in the space of two weeks.
As if that was not enough, I learned how to deal with a Mac operating system and started using Adobe CS3, etc.
My physical body had some opinions about all this and offered a few ailments to get my attention. I drew deep within myself. I moved into an abiding quiet and have spent much of my time there, regardless of the outward appearance of my activities.
It is a time of endings and beginnings interwoven in disruptive tangles, a time of feeling that deep river of creation that runs through my life. For me, the creative muse has been a hard master and yet I cannot imagine life without it.
I view the lives of many of the people I know with bafflement. I am caught in the grip of a force that demands expression, and I see others plodding along, seemingly content with lives that would utterly suffocate me. I don’t know how they do it. Or why.
This creative force woke in my teens when I began to paint. My great uncle tutored me in oils. I had my troubles with it. No painting came alive until I had a major temper tantrum. No temper tantrum meant an oatmeal mush painting.
The whole problem is that the creative energy is larger than the little conscious mind, and that little conscious mind is an awful roadblock to the process. For me, a temper tantrum could bypass the little mind and I would suddenly do something I had not even imagined in a normal state of mind.
This model does work, albeit painfully. Uncle Mike himself was the master of the Lanshaw Roar, which is what the family called the behavior of my great uncles and grandfather, the Lanshaw brothers. They all used their tempers to create powerfully, and sometimes destructively.
My own immediate family was no help in this matter, being overwhelmed with their own difficulties. After all, we were four people living in a building 15’ by 22’ with no indoor plumbing and no dividing interior walls.
Actually there was no wallboard or insulation either, just bare rafters and studs with sheathing on the outside. The concrete floor had various colors of old linoleum in patchwork pattern.
My father was quite ill with bronchitis and heart trouble and my mother was a continuous temper tantrum of her own. Our house was quite the pressure cooker.
Just finding somewhere to paint in that overcrowded space was a challenge. I had a small easel I could put in position next to the kitchen table. Once absorbed in the paint, the rest of the world would mercifully disappear.
Of course, then I would discover I had perhaps gotten a bit too energetic with my little canvas and small brushes. I recall my mother going ballistic because I had splattered blue oil paint in the butter sitting on the table next to me.
I thought I had a pretty good sky going but she seemed more concerned about the butter. It really did not take much effort to clean those paint splatters off the butter.
Despite such incidents my parents usually encouraged my artwork, at least within their range of understanding.
Summers were better since I could take my pastels outdoors and draw. Once I went out in the back pasture and did a study of the woods and sky.
I had the notion of putting another image into it, long before Bev Doolittle came on the scene, and worked a woman’s face into the clouds and trees.
This went far outside my parent’s range and they just about exploded with indignation that I drew such a thing. I certainly did not do that again.
Solving my painting problems by having a temper tantrum was a pattern I could not change living in that environment. That had to wait for a later time.
Copyright © Lexi Sundell 2008. All Rights Reserved.