A couple of Christmasses ago, I decided not to do the usual, expected thing and go home for Christmas, but instead stayed in Inverness. I had a few days of intense spiritual creativity, and made and dabbled in different types of creativity. It was wonderful.
One of these dabblings was a foray into the world of acrylics. I set a cheap canvas down on the carpet, and then thought I ought to put some backing paper down behind it. Just in case I make a mess…
My first try was what I consider quite amateurish. I had no idea what I was painting, how I was painting, or indeed what any of the tools and methods were. I painted what I thought was a waterfall (in portrait), but was dissatisfied with the result. Never mind, I have to start somewhere. I plonked it down on the piano to dry and got on with the next canvas. I ha the notion that this, whatever it was, had be along one of the diagonals. I took my time, and spent 5 hours on this canvas. Paint did go everywhere, and I had to scrape drying acrylics off various pieces of furniture, and still have small blobs of paint on my halogen heater. That is what comes of employing a toothbrush and a stiff piece of card! When this was finished, this also went on to the piano to dry.
A friend came round to visit, and spotted these two new pieces of creativity and exclaimed at all the fish. ‘What fish?’ I asked, rather confused. Nothing about the galaxy painting I thought was rather good. No, it was the initial painting I had created that had caught her eye – the one that I didn’t know what it was. She picked it up and turned it 90°, and then pointed out the fish to me. Sure enough there were fish. I was amazed. How many times do we do something that we think is no good but it touches someone’s heart? And how many times do we think something we’ve done is quite good, and give ourselves a pat on the back, and nobody takes any notice?
My galaxy painting for instance isn’t a picture that everyone would recognise immediately as being a galaxy. To some people it’s just a mess of colour. To me it’s a design that I had not seen in my mind’s eye when I began to paint. I was just extremely conscious that I was painting freehand – there were no sketches or lines to hold the paint in. As I painted I was being healed – healed of the ingrained belief that I could only paint within lines, and if I went over these lines, my painting/drawing would be ruined. I had to be very strong in myself to ensure that I didn’t try and paint a broad strong stroke which would then act as some delineation which I would then have to follow. I had to keep reminding myself to only do a few strokes, before sitting back and asking the Holy Spirit which colour to use next, and in what way.