During these times of unrest, of peek-through-your fingers news every single day, and events that make you want to just throw something at the wall… I’ve found that art has become even more dear.
Jim Carrey recently released a short documentary about his “need for color.” It’s about how he turned to painting to heal a broken heart. He clearly has a talent that a lot of us, I’ll speak for myself, I don’t have. But the idea works for everyone. And I can’t recommend the video highly enough.
I’d always dreamed of having a biiiiiiig canvas, a whole slew of paints, and the freedom to paint whatever I wanted. It seemed luxurious. Freeing. Experimental.
So, during a particularly stressful time, one that kept me up at nights -the 2016 presidential debates- I made it happen. I bought a large canvas, some paints, and -most importantly- made the time and space to be alone.
I think next time I’d like to do something even more free-form, but this was so lovely. I’d seen a painting that was similar and I decided to start with that idea.
It was freeing. I used all sorts of tools to figure out the textures I wanted from sponges, to brushes, to my fingers. Taking a large blank canvas and bringing color and life to it was like taking deep breaths. It was like the feeling you get when you walk out onto a rooftop terrace and the expanse is exhilarating and unexpectedly delightful. When you use your hands to take the paint to the canvas, and you feel the cool paint and the slightly scratchy canvas… it’s a sensual experience that makes the experience part of you.
In The Silver Gun, releasing August 29th, there is a scene where my main character has this experience. I wanted her character, although flawed like us all, to be an expert at trying new things. So even though she’s not an artist, she gives it her all. And it does heal. Art helps us express things we can’t quite say otherwise. It helps us understand and experiment with all the senses. Even if we aren’t artsy.
So, what shall we try today? Pick something! Do something you’ve never done. Pick up a small paint set at the hardware store. Listen to music you’ve never listened to. Dance alone to a loud, crazy rock song. Write a horrible poem. Go into the museum you drive by every day – even for just twenty minutes. Take the plunge. And maybe find something you didn’t know you’d been looking for your whole life.