Naked Painting, Ritualistic October Chant

I can’t remember why we were naked, maybe it was after I had given Jack and Fiona their bath? I had a sports bra on, we were practicing jump roping, so I had taken off my shirt to put on my sports bra, I had taken off my underwear after jump roping because jump roping makes me pee my pants! My underwear were wet. Somehow we moved into my studio, I can’t remember what drew us here. Oh, I remember now, we were playing hopscotch and I wanted to draw a hopscotch on my painting. “I just want to do one thing” I say to Jack and Fiona. They reply “O.K.” and follow me into my studio. Alan is upstairs on the couch, Jack and Fiona haven’t taken their nap. It is my fault, we went to the pumpkin patch, to lunch, then “To the ice cream store” Fiona says. It was already after 2:00pm when we got home, (oh and I forgot, we also went to the Halloween mega store!) We had to put our skeleton bones out, play with our costumes, take a bath, so I decided to let them stay up and hopefully they would go to sleep early, so Alan and I could gain some alone time. I start by drawing on my canvas, adding some collage, mix some blue ink for Jack and Fiona to play with. They start off slow, Jack comes and goes, taking breaks to play with his trucks in his room. Fiona stays with me the whole time. We are all barefoot, “watch out for the Pins” I tell them. We should have shoes on. Fiona and I stay painting, getting more and more into it, getting paint everywhere. Fiona falls in the paint, it’s all over her leg and butt! I grab a plain piece of paper and tell her to sit on it. She does and experiments for a while. She plays with water, washing my paintbrushes, she’s in her own world and so am I but we’re so connected. Jack comes in and plays with paint, makes some lines, I think it’s a lot for him to take in. Fiona starts chanting a song, I join in. It sounds like a ritualistic chant, perfectly paired with the October sky last night, the strong gusts of wind, the naked painting like cavewomen or a nomadic tribe. It’s brilliant.

Now I am back in my studio, Monday morning. Ready to get started on my painting, but my studio is such a mess. My paintings are such a mess. Over worked and ambivalent. But I know what I want, the feeling, the feeling of passing time, moments we never get back, a ritualistic chant that crosses boundaries and goes deep inside, scooping out that childlike freedom of creation.  Embedded with the pain and loss of adulthood. Alive with the knowing that this is all temporary, like that one magical gust of October wind, with the slight chill, reminds us that the Earth can open like a crevice and take us back into herself, like a baby returning to the womb. We turn into dust like the disintegrating moth on the kitchen window sill. Layers of paint creating this history in front of me, leaving a memory behind me. But what is now? I grab the paint, the medium, my brush or palette and try to enter into that space. Childlike and adultlike simultaneously, trying to not overthink, trying to remain in the ritualistic chant Fiona taught me last night.

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Thoughts on Motherhood Through the Eyes of an Artist