Thursday, December 12, 2013

Foreign Territory

After the geometry homework is done, my favorite 16 year-old and I break out our art journals. I stare at the blank page. The white space feels good after a busy day. I watch her paint for a long time. She dives in without a plan. She squeezes paint from the tube right onto the page. Plastic knife, bottle cap, foil- whatever is within arms reach becomes her tool. She hums to the song on the radio and spreads paint with her fingers.

I begin to crave the colors. I begin to crave the surrender.

I use her leftovers to stamp paint onto my page in greens and bronze. My fingers find the blue, the space between. Now we are both humming to the radio. When I zoom out, it hits me- my marks resemble some kind of map. The continents, the oceans, the archipelagos all an accident.

What is this foreign territory and why did my fingers paint it?

Soon I find myself tearing paper left over from our investigations of the x and y axis. The orbs consume whole oceans and claim space on the land, much like the thoughts that have been creeping in.

There is no rhyme or reason to any of it, but somehow it makes sense in my day. It doesn't matter...and it matters, all at once. For weeks, I have been exploring foreign territory, navigating strange inner worlds all alone in my quiet moments, in my busy mind. I have been keeping these feelings to myself long enough for them to get very heavy and so very convoluted.

The paint dries. I close my art journal. I marvel at how my inner world wants to spill out through my creative process. I make a mental note to make more art soon. The unintentional kind.

There is something to this soul mapping that is worth exploring.

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