Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Purple hats, french perfume, and pocket rockets

The messy desk is back...what a tremendous relief. When I am blocked, I clean and my desk is an ordered place. I clean the keyboard with alcohol and Q-tips, between the keys, and the surface. It is a bleak and uninspired ritual and I persist to keep me near my computer...waiting...waiting for the muse.

In the years that I focused on my art, my creative identity solidified, complete with little rituals. Creativity and rituals, creativity and structure, in my wired brain these elements are aspects of being able to paint and write. When I was a younger artist, I would paint and paint, the muse in my heart and mind, never gone. In the rituals was a part of my artistic identity: black tights, eye makeup, lip gloss, long hair, and perfume. The perfume was a counterpoint to the heaviness of linseed oil, turpentine, and oil paint vapors. The rest was just for fun. I'd listen to music, paint long into the night til morning - and slide into bliss.

When I grew up (ahem) and more and more people occupied my waking hours, my little rituals retreated. I got tired of the question, "Where are you going?" as I appeared in one of my flamboyant outfits and smelling of perfume. The message was clear; the artist had departed - there were fewer and fewer works in progress. If I was dressed it must be for a special occasion like grocery shopping, scouts, dinner date, or work.

The happy dances in black tights disappeared. I have never been a public person; I'm not good with an audience. Yet, somehow I lost my private space too; no one to blame, it happened. In my artistic days, I was about the creative act and the expression - the artist made visible. Jeans, awesome shoes, short skirts, ties, hats, eye make-up, and lip gloss - the outward expression as I worked on my latest painting. Canvases lined my walls, works in progress and blank, beautiful canvases ...waiting.

Look artistic, smell artistic, live artistic, do artistic, think artistic, all the package equals artist's life. That was my mantra.

As I traveled thru the parenting and social complexities of family, my creativity transferred to storytelling/reading, artful cakes, children's outside art shows, how many different ways could I arrange the furniture, and moving bushes outside.

Recently, one of my daughters dragged me into Ultra, the makeup mecca at Pier Park. What an uncomfortable and fun several hours that became. I was made over in the low key way I am most comfortable with and it was an improvement. As I was checking out the clerk held up one of my purchases and joyfully announced to the small crowd, "one pocket rocket." I went red; for some maddening reason I still blush. I had unwittingly purchased a lip gloss that is marketed as a pocket rocket compete with a hologram of a very fitful and lovely male named David who disrobes as you apply the product. All of which she demonstrated to me and the crowd. Oh, and he smells like dessert.. Welcome to the new and improved lip gloss.

There is nothing to be done to apply what I have learned or am now learning to the past. But today and tomorrow offer possibilities and hope. Here I sit back on track with my writing, with my favorite purple fedora, french perfume, and David; even my paints and paintbrushes are near. What fun! Write on...

1 comment:

  1. Melissa, my desk is messy and so is my entire house! How thankful I am that I can now blame these things on being an ar-teest! How I wish I could have known you in your black tights and wild make-up days. Whatever ritual works, go with it. Creating is the thing, however we go about it and in whatever medium. I would also love to see some of your paintings one day. I can't draw stick people.