Aptly named for fall but the actual leaves to which I’m referring inspire more of a springtime feel.  I was given a picture of a bunch of purple, pink and green leaves over a year ago (not sure where the picture came from but it was lovely) and was told ‘you should paint this’.  At first glance it didn’t look particularly menacing so I took it on as a project.  Now a little background before we move on, when I accepted said painting challenge I was about 35 or so weeks pregnant with baby #3 and though no impending doom was on the immediate horizon I was predicting an early baby (to follow in the foot steps of his brothers who were born at 38 weeks respectively).  But as I was the mother of only 2 actual children I was feeling ambitious and somewhat cocky (what’s 1 more kid?  how hard is THAT going to be?).  So I bought a gigantic canvas (3.5 feet by 3.5 feet) and a bunch of paint and began planning out my composition.  I’d even started painting (because I had at least enough sense to get as much of my artwork finished or at least started before baby was set to arrive, knowing exactly how little sleep and free time I was about to have when #3 did make his debut).  Now this was when I realized just how much work this piece was really going to be…at first glance it didn’t look all that daunting, but once I started working I realized just how many leaves were present and just how many little branches and veins and whatnot were starting mockingly at me.  The giant canvas I’d chosen for this piece was starting to look a little too giant (and that’s saying a lot for me since I quite enjoy working big).  Even though baby decided to surprise me and arrive 2 days late instead of the usually 2 weeks early I had other things on my mind that didn’t include 5000 leaves and a massive canvas.  So said piece went into the storage room where it sat for quite some time, untouched, as I soon realized that 3 kids is somewhat more work than 2 (shocking, I know).  I couldn’t even entertain the mere thought of painting let alone actually doing it before my youngest was 6 months old.  I often thought that if I’d had any sense at all I should have abandoned the leaves project and used the canvas for other works but I hadn’t yet discovered the wonderful art of recycling and just letting something go (see my first blog post ‘Out with the Old’ to understand the moment I changed my mind about covering old pieces up).  Plus I had it in my head that I needed to complete my mission and that it was going to be completely and utterly fantastic when it was finished.  So I continued to sneak downstairs whenever I could, coffee in hand as I had to wait until AFTER everyone was in bed to paint but had to be quick enough to get at least SOME work done before the baby woke for a feeding.  Many an exhausting night (and freakishly early morning) was spent in front of that painting because I just HAD to finish it, even though there was no possible way I even remotely had the time or the energy for it.  It became such an obsession actually that I refused to start another work until it was completed.  There were many times it drove me so crazy that I almost painted over it but I plugged on, leaf after leaf, detail after detail, changing things and adding things to make it my own, until one night, 15 or 16 months after I had been given the photograph, I put my brush down, stepped back and realized it was DONE.  Probably the happiest I had ever been about finishing a painting.  As I looked upon the source of many sleepless nights, incredible amounts of work, and sometimes a VERY sore back it hit me that it had turned out quite beautiful.  I was actually quite proud of the work I had done and was glad to have done it.  I learned a lot making this piece and now that it is hanging on my wall I wouldn’t change any of that experience for the world (well, perhaps if I COULD change the experience I would have made it a little easier on myself and taken more naps…you know in a perfect world were naps exist…).  I call it ‘Canopy’ (or, rather my friend Amanda calls it that, I’m crap at naming things so I enlisted a little help)

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