My dearest friends are poets, writers, story-tellers: through photography and books and recordings of their sweet voices, they bring such creative joy into the world. But I have never thought of myself as such. I am a dabbler in words, I think – and very happy with this.
And so I had absolutely no expectations when I found myself on a sunny hillside in Abruzzo, dancing with my eyes closed to Florence and the Machine while my hands applied blue paint to a large blank canvass.
I learnt about warm and cool colours, and the shapes different sized foam brushes will make. We painted on each others canvasses and then we swapped. There was no attachment to any of it. It was so playful, so much fun. I had no idea what I was doing, if it was any good, if that even mattered. I tried not to look at everyone else’s creations lest I start thinking and comparing. I just let go. What was the worst that could happen?
On the afternoon of the second day I started to get excited about purple. Its a hard colour to mix but I loved the richness of it, and then I got turned on to the bright red, a bit of white and orange came through, and then yellow. And just how fucking satisfying is it to twirl a brush and make the absolute opposite of straight lines? Answer: VERY. So that’s what I did for hours, graduating the colour, twirling my brush, feeling my six year old self ’SQUEEEE!’ with glee at the awesome. There was no way to fail. If I didn’t like something I just painted over it. I just went with what felt joyful and satisfying and concentrated on that.
There’s probably a metaphor for life in there somewhere.
I am so grateful to the gentle nudges of encouragement from Flora: artiste, yogi and all round fabulous soul, who let me hang out with little me and create something with pure joy. I will be framing my creation and hanging it above my desk to bring the magic of all the Italyness to rainy grey Londontown.
‘Invite imperfection. Know that the missteps and mistakes will become amusing anecdotes eventually and perhaps even teach you something further down the line or sooner, and that the places of wrongness and upset ultimately become the underpinnings of transformation’ ~ Maya Stein