Wednesday, 5 August 2009

Painting from the Heart

I haven't really done any painting for years and even then I only dabbled a bit here and there. I did art GCSE but only covered the basics and although I have always been inspired by the work of others, the written word was always my medium.

But lately I have felt "stuck". I just couldn't write like I used to and certainly couldn't find the place in my heart where inspiration lived. I was so busy trying to write what I thought other people would like that it became a chore.

This is a pattern I follow in my life too: too little self-worth makes me try to please others far more than pleasing myself and enjoying who I am. Embarrassed by my dreams and interests I hide them away and then tear myself apart emotionally when the life I create for myself does not live up to those same dreams.

So, last night I decided to take Tim's advice and do something purely for the pleasure of it. I started by watching a documentary about teenage parents, which led me to watch some videos on YouTube of birth (I have always had a massive interest in pregnancy, birth and the beginning of life) and I felt something inside me stirring... that's when the sketches at the start of this post came into being.

I wanted to explore the beauty of life, rather than the mundane, everyday grind which can get us down so often. Moments of joy that will last in our memories forever. Birth is one such moment. Nurturing a child is another. And so the first in a series of paintings, brought straight from the heart, developed. And here is the finished product.

Well, I say finished... I haven't decided yet whether to paint a background or not. I'm really rather pleased with how it came out - I love the simplicity of it and am astounded that I managed to actually get some shading in there. I'm starting to think that maybe, by doing something I love, I might even create things other people will love too. What do you think?

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Happy Lughnasadh

Did you know that August 1st sees the celebration of Lughnasadh? No, neither did I until Tim thoughtfully bought me a magazine to read whilst feeling poorly (I blame the 2000 tourists that seem to be pouring through our doors each day this summer... one of them is bound to pass on something "icky"). Lughnasadh is, apparently, the day that the ancient Celts used to celebrate the first fruits of the harvest and enjoy the last days of summer before the return of the Dark Year (autumn and winter). I also discovered that this is where the Christian festival of Lammas has its roots. Don't you just love learning things like this?

According to the article I read there were several ways of celebrating during this festival: craft fayres and roasting on spits, along with horse racing and bards and minstrels were all key parts of the day. It was, quite simply, a day of thanking the earth for her bounty and making offerings to her, such as a lash of mead poured on the land. The magazine suggests such a celebration is easier at the end of the month, when barbecues and family get-togethers are possible during the bank holiday weekend - but I am not going to let this day go past without a mention (not when I only found out about it yesterday!!)

So how are we celebrating Lughnasadh? Well... Tim is following his plans of cleaning the boiler in preparation for the coming months when we will need it to be working at peak efficiency - sounds like a good way to prepare. And I am going to spend the day, whilst recovering, thanking the earth for her blessings of food in our garden (I think I'll try making a salad or something) and picking up an old craft project I have put aside. Not exactly as the article suggests, but I did only have a few hours to prepare!!

But most importantly, I think we shall sit tonight quietly contemplating the blessings this summer has brought us and the dreams we have for our future. I hope you will find the time to sit and just "be" for a while too this weekend.

Happy Lugh, everybody x