“My So-Called Life”
By Beth Blair
August 23, 2017
Life is an experience to live…we don’t get out of it alive, right? Well, as I started painting a few years ago, I was shifting the focus of my life. I was looking at things that needed healing, forgiveness and letting go (without taking it back in the next second). I felt the swirling confusion of what to do next and the stagnation of just going through the motions. I painted a painting with vivid color and the title that came to mind was “My So-Called Life”. It was circular and whimsical. It was the direction of my internal life…world…that few see.
Even though it feels like it, life doesn’t stand still, nor is it stagnant. It is the river running through. You never stand in the same place twice, because with each breath, you are different…a second older… new thoughts emerging, questions, feelings, and encounters. The snap shots that we grasp are reminders of moments. Paintings are the same way. When I first painted “My So-Called Life,” I saw the circular center…I didn’t see the giant snail at the center. I saw the fluidness, not the slower pacing of the totem on the canvas. What I had been experiencing for the last 2 years was this slower pace, the snail. It was uncomfortable and I felt that NOTHING was happening…sigh!
I had the “itch” to paint, to express, to process. I grab the painting off the wall of the guest room and took it to the studio. I was done with this painting! I covered it in gesso, let it dry…slowing the pacing of the practice…I wrote four words on the canvas: Balance, Love, Trust and Serendipity, then grabbed the black paint. I was feeling the shadows inside. I was
feeling the darkness of our world closing in…the hate, the negativity, the loneliness of the contemplative heart. I did something I rarely do…I grabbed a paint brush! I place a black heart in the center of the canvas, then started random squiggles covering the canvas…radiating out from the dark, ominous, almost dead heart…and walked away. I let it sit, dry and settle in. I was willing to be with my darkness, the world’s darkness for just a little while.
When I returned to the studio, I paused and then painted. I grabbed colors and blended…then I pulled the paint off the canvas and “My So-Called Life” emerged again. To this point I haven’t kept the name of a painting once painted over. It felt right. It felt healing. It was empowering to see the vibrancy of possibility built on top of such darkness. Our shadow is something that we NEVER fix…it doesn’t disappear. It is something to be accepted…lived with and in. It is part of the beauty that is each of us. It wasn’t until the paint was dry that I saw the black peeking out…giving depth. My shadow gives me depth. It is something that I allowed to imprison me. As I accept it, meet it as a close friend, a companion of sorts…I break free to be truly authentic…and this is, “My So-Called Life.”