Just an afterthought


I had signed-up for a ‘Healing through Art” workshop last Saturday; myself and few other people. We only had an hour and half to create something, anything. The goal was for us to let the object we were about to create tell us what it wanted to be. Esthetics and previous art experience were not that important.

I went around the room looking for material. I immediately went for the familiar and decided to create an acrylic painting. I worked on that painting for more than one hour, very conscious that by letting the painting speak to me I was creating something that looked very chaotic. When they said: 15 minutes left, I grabbed a couple of pieces of wire and glued them to my work. I was still not happy with what I had produced, and I went looking for a piece of fabric that I had seen at the beginning of the session. I was not going to add it to my painting, I just wanted to use it as a brush and apply more acrylic to my work.

Five minutes left said the workshop facilitator and as I looked at that square piece of fabric stained with blue acrylic paint, I impulsively used my glue gun and glued it to the corner of my painting. It was a last minute decision and the piece of fabric looked out of place; like an afterthought.

The exercise was supposed to be a conversation with myself; and every day for the past week I looked at the painting trying to find a meaning to what I had produced. I thought that I had failed the exercise.

As I took pictures of the painting, I always made sure that the square piece did not show; especially if I was about to post it on social media. Then I realized, while playing with my pictures and digitizing them, that I liked it better in black and white. What a relief, it was now half decent; I could finally post it. As you might know, in the world we live in, something that is not posted does not exist (I am being sarcastic here).

Finally last night I decided that to take a good picture of my painting I needed to get rid of that piece of fabric. After all, it did not belong there; it was just an afterthought. Almost a week after my workshop, I grabbed the artwork and pulled on that little square fabric; being careful not to damage the painting. I pulled them apart and as I looked at that little piece of fabric, I instinctively started pulling on some strings here and there to give it shape. I photographed it, I studied it, and I let it speak to me… I never had such an intense conversation with an object before.

This is when I realized that “it” chose me. My last minute decision was my best decision. I was meant to go home with “it”. I was supposed to leave the familiar and venture into the unknown. The entire message was about following my instinct and not second guessing myself and my decisions. It was all about these roads less traveled that we are so afraid to take; roads that might eventually lead us to greatness.

Lesson learned!