August 02, 2021

It's Just Paint

By Elizabeth Hasen

In the midst of this past COVID winter, my sister came across a quote that made us both laugh.  Through the magic of online ordering, I created a mug for her which had this quote on one side, and on the other -- which as a lefty she would see as she held it in her left hand -- a photo of one of her favorite pastels.  I envisioned her taking a hot mug of tea up to her studio on a cold winter day, and looking at it as she began to create a new pastel. Inspired by it. Comforted by it.  



Because we both agree that while the idea of creating can seem inspiring and exciting, the reality can often feel anything but.  Instead, it can really make us anxious.  It can raise a whole host of questions that threaten to paralyze us before we even begin:  Will this "work?"  Will anyone like it? Will we even like it?  Or will it be a waste of time, materials and energy that could have gone into something else?  There are no guarantees.  Maybe it would be better to just stay downstairs and not go up to the studio today after all....

Because each new act of creating means stepping out into a space where we have not been before.  Each sweep of pastel across a blank sheet of paper -- or each brush of paint on a tiny piece of polymer jewelry -- is a risk.  It can feel as momentous as reaching out our finger to touch Adam's and trying to bring something to life.  And we are not God.  (I wonder if God ever worried, "Hmn, is this going to work or not?)

But creating is not a life-or-death matter.   In these challenging days, when death can seem to be all around us, that is a good thing to remember.  We can play with our art.  It might work, or it might not.  Maybe it will be something that ends up in our trash can.  Or maybe the magic will happen and we will create something of lasting beauty that brings something fresh and life-giving to the world, that gives joy to the one who sees it.  But it is the act of reaching out, of risking, which matters.  That is why we do it.  


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