Posts Tagged ‘happy accidents’

I have made a commitment to myself this summer to set aside one day (or more) every week to pursue creative endeavors. In my late teens and throughout my twenties I studied art, pen and pencil, charcoal, and oils. I took classes with artists who were protégés of Arthur Lismer, on of Canada’ Group of Seven. I even sold a few pieces and had several paintings leave for places unknown when my colleagues from Australia, South Africa and England purchased my work.

And then one day we moved to Alberta and for some reason the paint box was put away, tucked into a safe place in the basement. I did have other creative outlets such as rug design and rug hooking and other similar crafts, but my hands never touched a paint brush.

When we returned to the east, I dove into work and teaching part-time, then back to school for another degree. At one point during this time, I attended a show of Georgia O’Keefe’s paintings and while the brushes still remained untouched a little fire was lit. I found myself saying, “Someday I will get back to my painting”. Of course the’ some days’ became weeks, months and years.

Fast forward to 2013: I received an e-mail from OBO Studio run by Tracy Lynn Chisholm and Emily McLeod advertising a workshop called ‘Paint Your Horizon’. An interesting title, I thought – a great metaphor for life. (I am always looking for such metaphors). I sent Tracy an e-mail simply saying this looks like fun, congratulations. She responded by saying,  “Thanks for your inquiry, I have you registered in the program”. This was the first ‘happy accident’.

Although it had not been my intention to register, I did not say anything to Tracy. I knew it was time to make friends with the brushes again. I loved the workshop, the technique and felt at home with the brush in my hand. It is like riding a bike!

I immediately signed up for another workshop entitled ‘Georgia O’Keefe’. Now this one absolutely had my name on it! While this time the medium was pastels, I once again felt at home. I also noticed that even if my state of mind was not feeling aligned with my creative juices, it didn’t matter. Once I start I am lost in the process, my head clears, I am engaged, I relax and breathe and for a change, I am totally in the moment. The experience offers me everything I teach to others – another happy accident?

The next SIGN occurred on my birthday. Each year I order my Life Path report from my colleague Shaina Noll. Based on numerology the report identifies the key themes for your life in any given year. One of the themes identified for me this year is ‘Multifaceted Creativity’. Nothing like bringing the point home and evidently, the time is now, where upon I signed up for my third workshop, Flower Play.

Flower Play introduced me to the idea of ‘happy accidents’. Designed to be free zzfrom and abstract, the process of painting a masterpiece occurred through a series of steps where you literally add paint to a canvas in layers, and allow the painting to emerge. No photos to copy, no specific design to emulate, no rules to follow. I felt an unsettling in my belly. It
was one thing to pick up a brush; it was another to trust my imagination. In the previous workshops I had used an image to guide my work. OMG!

As my painting grew, many happy accidents happened: an accidental splattering of fuchsia paint all over the canvas, watered down paint dripping down the canvas when I stood it upright, and a few smudges here and there.

The happiest accident however was when I grew frustrated with my tools and tried to correct something with my finger. The feeling of paint on my finger tip was sensual, the effect amazing, and from that moment forward my finger tip became my brush. It was so cool and so much fun. And as for that initial trepidation, I felt like the lion had been let out of the cage as my fingers attacked the canvas with shades of indigo, purple, violet, yellow and several shades of green. The result may not be a masterpiece but it makes me joyful!

Dorothy's Garden

Dorothy’s Garden

Final Word

I suspect life is full of happy accidents. Likewise I am convinced that many of us may be ignoring them or pushing them away. Life might be very different if you picked up the paint brush again, opened your heart to happy accidents and began painting the canvas of your life in a way that frees you. Is it time to let your lion out of the cage?

Until Next Time,


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