Monday, July 20, 2020

A Gloppy Day

Do you have some "glops" in your life? Unwanted gobs of gunk?

"Stir it until it's no longer gloppy", she said, as she poured purple, pink and other carefully chosen colorful paints into individual cups. I didn't know what gloppy meant but I had an immediate connection with the word and I knew it was going to be a fun day. I had been invited to spend the afternoon "playing" with my artist friend, Diane, in her art studio.

"It's gonna be a gloppy day", I posted on Facebook—right before my weekly 1:30 Hit Pause LIVE session where I normally pour out my soul on the piano. Today, I would be doing Acrylic Pouring.

We stirred individual paint colors for over an hour until it was no longer gloppy. Glops are lumps of paint that detract from the finished image. As I stirred, I could see the glops begin to disappear.

Then, Diane told me to take the paints and mix them all together, little by little into one cup.

Next step: turn the cup of mixed paints UPSIDE DOWN onto the blank, white canvas and hold it there until the paint's downward movement raises the cup from the surface.

Slowly, I lifted the cup from the canvas as the paint mixture oozed out and spread across the void.

I gasped.

"It looks like a galaxy", I said, followed by an unexpected need to weep.

"It's so beautiful. It makes me want to cry." I felt a little bit embarrassed at my reaction.

Later, as I was analyzing my sudden burst of emotion, I realized that I have been grieving. The loss of performances (for my musician friends and me) combined with the loss of creative planning for my annual Portraits of White Christmas concert has magnified the silence of "LIVE" music. It has created a sadness that I couldn't quite identify until I poured the mixed up paint on to the canvas.

Based on past experience with grief, I've learned that it's important to acknowledge the fact that you're grieving. It's been over four months since the COVID-19 pandemic hit my community. I feel as if we've all been shoved into individual cups. "Stay home. Stay six feet away. Cover your face." Though I've enjoyed aspects of the isolation, I wasn't prepared for the on-going loss of music I've experienced.

The virus has mixed up my world, and yours. It's been a "gloppy" year. There are many ways to stir up glops so we can identify them and then watch them disappear. Unfortunately, glops of life take longer to disappear than glops of paint. But things like exercise, praying, singing, listening to birds and journaling are all things that help me get rid of the gobs of junk.

So now I understand the sudden emotion when the "galaxy" appeared on the canvas. It was a moment of beauty in what feels like an upside down world. I desperately needed to experience something beautiful in the midst of my sadness.

In Acrylic Pouring, once the paint is poured onto the canvas, it moves. It changes. You can tilt the canvas and encourage the paint to move one way or another, but even if you don't touch it, the pattern evolves. And what seemed like a mixed up batch of paint turned into—a galaxy!

I'm looking forward to a new galaxy of possibility as we press on through the gloppy days. I don't know what it will look like yet, but as we continue to feel our lives tilt, I'm hanging on to the hope that something beautiful will unfold.

PS. I wish I would have snapped a picture of that first painting when it was freshly poured onto the canvas.  But this video gives you the sense of how the painting changes as you "tilt" the canvas. We decided to use up all the leftover paint at the end of our session to see what would emerge.

Here are more images from my gloppy day at the art studio.