One step forward, two steps back is exactly how it felt climbing in the sand of the big dunes in Namibia last summer. It was exhilarating and I wasn’t stressed because I had time and my senses were on overload. I was being a sponge…absorbing as much of that place as I could. It was a process…
Many steps. Every day we face them…get up, keep going, look forward. One foot in front of the other, whether we’re navigating in another world or walking the familiar floorboards of home or marking the path to our work.
I sigh, as I plunge my hands into the dishwater – again – to clean my big skillet. I used it to cook last night and I will again tonight. Take out the garbage, pay bills, clean the house, manage desk work and daily projects, cook again… Sometimes I look around and feel the weight of the mess that is daily life. Requirements – routines – chores – choices. But sometimes, there is just enough lightness to hang a question mark on these routines – things that I take for granted, or do a bit begrudgingly. Do I not want the choice to do these things? Yes, these chores and tasks can feel so ordinary, so uninspiring, but they are what I do to make my life happen – and to help my family’s world go around. I am engaged in the process. Granted, some of these things are more enjoyable than others…like preparing and cooking good food can be a joyful, passionate thing – even for a moment. I remind myself that it’s all “travel” in some form or another…we all deal with the process in our lives, every day. I’m not opening any new cans here.
I sigh as I face my easel and drawing table –again– in my studio…looking tasks and decisions and preparations in the eye, before I make marks on the paper or panel. I get impatient and want to just paint, but I need to work out the composition and put parts of sketches together…see if it works…create the foundation. Question marks arise here too…is it strong? Are the value and shape relationships there? Is it as good as I can make it? Am I translating what I felt out there into my painting? Some days it feels like two steps forward and one step back. I read something a while ago and wrote it down in my writing notebook. I don’t know who said it, but I find myself turning the page back to read it again…
“Clear and definite purpose makes us do the things we need to do in order to reach the objects (goals) we want to reach. Direction and motivation are a result of purpose.”
I take a drink from my water bottle and pick up my pencil or paintbrush and keep moving. Turn on some music…Lucinda Williams yesterday…today it was the Beatles 1967-1970 album…and feel just enough lightness to turn up the corners of my mouth. Many steps. Choices. Travel as metaphor…cooking and cleaning as metaphor…helping my daughter become her own person as metaphor…painting as metaphor. Every day.
And, especially for all of my supporters on the Namibian Portfolio project, this is for you. Bits and pieces, process…it’s all coming together! It won’t be the last time that you hear me say it, but, thank you!
Let me know if you are interested in my work or have questions or comments. Thanks for looking and reading!
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