'you are not
meant to fit in
you were born
to stand out
Let me begin by saying that I have painted 'big' things before, set pieces and props for the dance studio; among them a giant full sized fire truck, a VW bug style clown car that was pretty close to life sized too, several giant boom boxes one of which was 2 stories tall. Then there was the 6 foot upholstery foam river with landscape boulders and rocks. I could go on and on. None of them were all that much of a challenge, the colors and style were pretty basic and anyone could have painted them. Easy stuff, just big. My girls often helped with these projects, even when they were quite young. I was simply painting everything in the appropriate colors, like painting in a really big coloring book, only one that was 3 dimensional. You'd think I'd be able to paint these stairs and walls without fear but that would not be true. For what I intend to bring to these stairs and walls is about the biggest art project I have ever taken on and to completing it by next Thursday; well maybe I'm just a wee bit insane.
The quote by Rachel Awes that I chose for the steps very much represents the message I want my daughters to see each day as well as myself, for I am an artist at heart and that sometimes means being misunderstood by those who lack the understanding of the importance of this kind of self expression. It is a message I wish to share with anyone who graces us their presence in our home. Everyone should be allowed to be stunning, shining and free. It is the light inside each of us that is uniquely ours, our imprint on the world in which we reside. That I am doing this on the eve of our oldest graduating high school, having friends and family over to share in this moment of her life, very telling and insightful. It is a message I wish to impart to everyone who visits. Don't settle for being a carbon copy, an imitation, a cookie cut out, be authentic, stay true to your heart, live your entire life, true. Which is what I've written on the wall on the left of the top of the stairs,
live true. I couldn't get it all to fit into the photo.
Writing that big was way outside my comfort zone. It took me several days to gain enough courage to write on the steps and then on the wall. I've never trusted the steadiness of my hand to write on a canvas, in my art journal, much less a wall, which is why I wish to share the process in the next few posts. For now a little background history.
A few years ago I painted my daughter's rooms in 3 glorious colors of their choice. (please note, I'm sharing these photos while they are in school and if I don't return here, you will know that they will have shot me for sharing these on my blog)
Megan's room with my studio assistant and member of our family; Miss Fibi curled up on Meg's pillow.
Then there is Brittney's room.
Please ignore the chaos.
Is it a wonder that our daughters attend a art's magnet high school and ride a school bus for an hour each way to get there. They have to get up at 5 AM to catch the bus at 6 AM. I'd like to think we gave them an environment where they could feel brave and grow their own dreams and attending the school was their choice. They left the comfort of going to the local high school where most of their friends would choose to attend, knowing that most of the friends they would make would not be in the neighborhood. Yet they chose to go. They were brave and I love them so much for taking that risk. We feel like we've given them every opportunity to become adults who value things like, art, dance, theater and the importance of self expression, along with learning those skills one needs to enter adulthood and begin to create a life for themselves out in the 'real' world. As a side note; I am grateful that we live in a community that still honors art in their curriculum when so many public schools are cutting out art classes entirely. This program now faces budget cuts and while Brittney graduates this week, it is our hope that it can continue 2 more years and beyond so that Megan can also graduate from this amazing public school.
So, back to what I was sharing. I painted Brittney's dresser about 13 years ago, just before we moved into this house. This was my dresser as a child, I stripped it and created it into an aquarium of whimsical fish. At the time this was the biggest thing I had ever taken paint to.
So painting these walls and steps should come easy. Nope. I am learning a few things about painting big and about being brave and I intend to share them here as a tutorial so if any of you are inspired to paint big you will have the confidence to move forward. It really is fun and exciting. These steps and walls represent our own affirmations that a little bit of art goes along way, that creativity should not be restricted but rather celebrated and where we live can 'respectfully' express that. I wouldn't go out and paint the outside of our home 10 different colors and force my creative endeavors upon my neighbors and hoping they will understand. I wouldn't go that far. Nor would I turn every room in our home into a colorful 3 ring circus. My husband lives here too and am grateful he is willing to allow me my artistic freedom as much as I respect his need to come home to his own relaxing corner of the world and we balance each other's needs for what we want our home to be. We've not had family over for a very long time so our home is going to represent who each of us are at our core, that pursuing an artistic dream can be done in a big, yet respectful way.
Stay tuned, as I will share the details of this process in the coming days as time allows. For now I need to get back to the work at hand, adding all the fun details to the steps and walls. I need to bring them to life.