Today, I want to take you back in time. Back to 2008, when art was my friend (It still is today). My artwork is so important to me. I work through things every day through art, just moving oil pastels around the page or chalk or paint around the page really helps my emotional well-being. It helps to calm me and slow my thoughts down.
Back in 2008 my office art was created, while my husband, brother and I were building my offices – And I mean physically building walls and everything over a period of three months.
This artwork is special to me because it shows all that I went through during that time. I bought a big Canvas so it would be prominent in my office.
I started off with a blank canvas on an easel in my family room. I looked at it every night after work. Nothing really came to me. At first, I decided to paint a beautiful relaxing scenery. A lovely valley with mountains in the background, lots of trees. Maybe paint someone sitting under a tree contemplating life. I set off creating this wonderful land that all my clients were going to look at feel relaxed and happy to be in my office. By the end of the week I’d created something beautiful. But it didn’t sit right with me. Yes, it was calming and relaxing. But it was just a painting of a peaceful scenery. I like to feel like it’s me on the page, and this just didn’t work for me.
I decided to paint over it.
Every night I came home, and put some paint on the canvas. It was just what I was feeling about what we’d built that day. For the first few weeks, I was feeling fabulous about how my new office space was coming together. So I put all this movement in gold, metallic green, orange and purple in what became the background. I was feeling really great about putting these colours on the page and then moving the paint around with my hands to create this lovely moment of contentment and peace.
That feeling was meant to last.
We Got Thrown a Curve Ball
My brother rang one night and said that he couldn’t come in to help with the building anymore. But he wanted to meet me at my home by myself. I had no idea as to what he was going to say, and I wasn’t prepared for what he told me. He said ‘Cait, I’m sorry. I can’t help anymore because I’ve been diagnosed with lymphoma’.
Art helped me
I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. We had a chat about how I was going to support him. And I went to my canvas after he left, the tornado appeared. I worked so long on this part of my painting. Why him? What has he done? Our dad died of cancer. I don’t want to go through this again. All these thoughts were swimming around in my head, as I went over and over this tornado.
Doing this actually helped me not to stay in the overwhelm of the knowledge that he had a huge battle ahead of him. I was able to get up the next day and go to work, but we didn’t work on my offices until the weekend.
I couldn’t work on my painting for a couple of weeks. It wasn’t until my brother started getting his treatment that I started back to paint again.
The next thing that started to appear was these purple growths, which alternated with green growth. Things were looking better for my brother. I started feeling hopeful and the office building started to gather momentum again. More and more green and purple appeared, my office was almost finished. And something amazing began to emerge from the canvas. It was a tree with new growth.
Everything had come together beautifully. My brother was getting through his treatment as tough as that was, we were starting to paint my offices, and this marvellous tree of hope emerged.
I wanted to give it depth as this felt like it was an important part of my painting. I textured the tree by putting PVA glue with water, and toilet paper. This was exciting. It felt great moving this thick, robust paper to form the tree. It then needed new growth. I put shaping that felt like the sun, but it wasn’t., it was nourishment. Leaves and new tender branches began to form. These colours need to be metallic for me, because I felt strong.
The Art Connection
Well this is the process of my office art, and it will always remind me of everything that we went through. And during those few months, it also attracted so many people into my office. Many people came in to say how amazing and powerful it was. I got to explain my process to them, and some of them became my clients.
They connected with me through art. Art is a great way to connect with others, you might like to do a piece that is everything you’re feeling, and then show that to your partner and walk them through your process. You will connect in a very special way. They might also want to do a piece to explain how they’re feeling. You can see how different they are to you, and perhaps you can then understand what they’re going through as well. Sometimes partners have difficulty seeing that the other is hurt or is going through a process that they don’t understand because it’s so different from yours, and they think the other is heartless and uncaring.
What You Can Do Now
You can also do this with your friends to reconnect with them, as some of the country and the world is still in lockdown. You can do your own painting and have a zoom meeting with your friends to explain your process to each other. You can get as deep as you want to. Share as much as you feel comfortable with.
It’s a great way to share your story of what you’ve been through.
A Little Bit of Love
I love this quote.
“You use a glass mirror to see your face; you use works of art to see your soul”
George Bernard Shaw.
This is why art is so important. Sometimes there are no words only swirls and colours. The words come later.
I’d love to see your artwork, and to hear your process. Send me an email.