I am keeping up with my intention to play with my art supplies daily. Notice I did not set the intention to “make art” each day. Too scary.  But play with paints, pastels, paper and scissors? That’s kid stuff and my  2021 intention is as much about allowing my inner kid free rein as it is to allow myself to be an amateur in its original sense — one who is a “lover of…”  I am indeed a lover of color, of pattern, of potchkeying, which is this great Yiddish word that means among other things, to play and make messes.

The whole way thorough I see-sawed between feelings of joy and self-criticism.  There were the voices that told me the clothes hung too close to the ground and that the clothesline was strung so high in the trees only a giant could peg them to the line. I imagined friends who are professional artists raising their eyebrows in dismissal. There was the voice chiding me for working so hard on the branches that were going to be painted over. And the voice that said the flowers dotting the lawn were a lazy way out.

The see-saw also lifted me skyward. I rendered a sky with white clouds! I adored the feeling of my paintbrush stroking shades of brown up and down the tree trunks.  I played with the greens: pine greens, khaki greens, brown greens and then darkening the brown greens with a bit of black. Carefully, I daubed bits of blue here and there between the leaves to try and show some sky.

Creating the clothes on the line was the best part. I collect paper and old greeting cards. They are full of  potential—all that color and pattern giving way to new forms.  I cut out pants and a top from one card and snipped hearts from another for handkerchiefs. Get lost! I told the voice when she sniffed that the handkerchiefs were way too big and all out of proportion. They’re elephant handkerchiefs, don’t you know?  I love the brocade skirt and the mod pillowcases that started out as stained glass windows. The white slip was a happy accident that brought some open space.

As for the lawn? Yeah, not my finest moment of ingenuity but instead of trying to “fix” it or do something else ,I’m leaving it alone. I’m learning to be OK with “it’s okay.”  I’m delighted every time I look at this small fusion of  kids’ stuff. I see it and relive the fun I had, the quiet of the evening as I worked, fooling around with patterns, getting my fingers all glue-y, creating a scene at once soothing and refreshing. The voices of doom? The breezes carried them far away beyond the treetops. For now, I can’t even hear them.