Monday, May 16, 2011

The Blank Canvas

Because this young boy died in a tragic accident, along with his best friend and his best friend's mother, this commission has been one of the most difficult I have ever done.

I stared at the blank canvas for probably 20 minutes. I said a prayer (okay, several), and then finally started the block in:

I remembered my greatest teacher, William Whitaker saying, "The first stroke you make on a canvas is always perfect. It's the second stroke and all subsequent strokes that can ruin everything. Sometimes the hardest thing to do is simply leave a painting alone."

I took a deep breath, and then got warmed up:

Once things started to come together, I got a little more confident:

The painting began to have a life of its own at this point. This is the point where you've committed enough that you either have to finish it or start over. So I finally braved the serious stuff:

Several sessions later, was finally happy with it:

I've thought a lot about being a mother through this process.

My children are my blank canvases. Sometimes I just stare at them, frozen, thinking about all I wish to teach them. I say a prayer and start to go forward, one lesson at a time. I remember the advice, "The first stroke you make is always perfect." I look at my beautiful girls and see this is true. They are perfect little beings.

Then I keep going and worry that "it's the second stroke and all subsequent strokes that can ruin everything."

I remind myself that "sometimes the hardest thing to do is simply leave [them] alone."

At this point, I still feel like I am in the bare beginning stages--just a few basic strokes for composition and placement on their blank little slates.

Some day I'll have to turn the brush entirely over to them. They will take on a life of their own. I hope by then they can see what beautiful potential they have and make the last strokes with courage and bravado.

Thank you, Deena, for the honor of painting Austin. It's helped to remind me of the incredible opportunity of motherhood, the fact that anything can change in an instant, and that knowledge that every day is a gift.

Thank you, God, for the honor of raising my beautiful daughters. My own little miracles remind me of Thy infinite goodness.

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