I crave colour. Autumn has arrived and I walk the woods that surround my home, seeking the vibrant shades that I sense have been missing from my life. The past few weeks have brought an unsought disconnection to my self that has been both unwelcome and disconcerting. I walk to find the connection that eludes me. I seek my self.There have perhaps been reasons. A team member absent at work resulting in extra long daily hours and pressures. A delay in the sale of my mother’s little house. A small health scare linked to my cancer treatment.
But these are small challenges. I have faced far worst. This feels deeply personal, a loss to the creativity that has sustained me since the loss of my mother some months ago now. I have been playing, with paper and paint and brush, expressing myself in first an art journal and then in larger pieces that were an entirely new way of expressing myself. I learned about phatalo blue, alizarin crimson, paynes gray. I learned about palette knives and brush strokes and spatter. I spent happy hours and a way of working emerged that was deeply satisfying.
But I lost it. It is many weeks since I last applied paint to a pristine piece of cold pressed paper. I walk to reconnect with that part of me that was delighted and excited by this new found way of expressing myself through paint and brush and palette knife. I walk to reconnect to the colour that so inspired me to create the body of work that litters my newly created art studio.
The colours that I find when I first begin this walk are muted, soft – early autumn at its best. But this is not the vibrancy I seek. I walk further, steps strong and purposeful. There is meaning to the steps I take this day. I empty my mind, clear my thoughts and enter deeper into the woods. And there they are – the rich, heady colours of deep autumn that I crave.
I focus hurriedly; these images may not be perfect. But here are the colours that I long for and I am keen to capture the rich reds, golden yellows and vibrant oranges that I sense will spark the creative spark in me once more.
I stop to breathe deeply. The scents are earthy, woody. Autumnal loam litters the path I walk. I begin to relax, to feel a sense of renewal deep inside me. I begin to think that I have been to hard on myself. The pressures I have been under have been real. The letting go I began following the passing of my mother has taken longer than I thought. It may take longer yet. I begin to take the pressure of myself.
And there it is, the answer. This need not be a race. I have time, now, to explore my new-found relationship to paint and paper and palette knife. I can allow truly myself the freedom to play, without pressure or expectation, or the need to seek approval from others. I can return home, not to rush to the studio to create and create and create, but to savour this gift of time that I have reclaimed. My creativity is still there. Deep. True. It is my choice, finally, to choose how and when I express myself. And I believe I will. Having experienced the deep colours of this autumn season, I return home with renewed purpose, but also with the knowing that I must be kinder, more forgiving, more allowing of myself as I navigate this journey that I find myself on.