What notions are afoot

I have embarked on an interesting journey as of late. My mother was here for some time during the winter. She is a painter. Her name is Maria Trapani. She taught art. She infused art into our everyday lives, whether it was visiting the Detroit Institute of the Arts on a fairly regular basis or making a stop on a summer vacation out east to see a Wyeth family exhibit. Each moment is pooled in my memory and hovers in all the best ways. It is because of her that I love art, and my happy place is in an art museum or gallery. Maybe it’s because it’s where she is happiest, too.

With all that, it has taken me this long to perhaps embrace what was inevitable. I have always been creating in some way shape or form. Each little project my mother gave me as a kid, needle point, latch hook, paint-by-numbers, I finished and was pleased with myself for doing so. I sketched a lot as a kid, too. It was something she had us do. There were no tablets back then, and there was no cable TV, but there was always a sketchpad, pencils and something to draw.

At some point, I let it all go. I had taken art classes in my second time around college, but there were other things I had to focus on. I still created, but in words rather than in images. I write poetry, a kind of art where I paint with words. Somehow, I always danced around the inevitable, though. It was easier to dance around it than embrace it.

Oddly enough, all these years I had kept supplies. Even when my partner and I purged all of our stuff and embraced a mostly minimalist lifestyle, I kept supplies. I had nearly forgotten I had kept them until my painter mother came to visit and asked what I might have so she wouldn’t have to drag all her supplies on a plane. I found I had everything, oil paints, brushes, canvases, paper, everything, and so it began.

I started tentatively with a small painting of a can of paprika that I still have not finished, but I called it my learning painting. They are all learning paintings, but this was the first step learning paint. I was playing with color and perspective and realized I knew nothing of either and painted over the image until it felt like it was what I wanted it to me, though I haven’t attempted the small details yet. Then I painted the neighbor’s dog and my dog and now I am working through an atelier book, though I know I can’t really learn that way from a book, but it’s better than nothing. And, here I am now. diving into it finally. It’s a start, a journey, like writing has been. It’s for writing because I feel painting is helping me to see in new ways, to understand the world in a different way that gets me away from the computer for a time. In many ways, I have been studying paintings all my life, so it really comes as no surprise that I would begin doing it at some point. I have a lot to learn, but I leave this post with a quote from Keith Haring because it sums it all up pretty well. “The best reason to paint is that there is no reason to paint.”

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