Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Paint, Ponder, Peace

I attended a Paint Party on Saturday with my neighbor Fran. A popular way to raise money for an organization, Paint Parties are big in Central Pennsylvania right now. Fran went to a Paint Party at the library a few months ago where they served wine and cheese.🍷
The party we went to was held at the church. No wine, but we did have chocolate-covered pretzels, brownies, cookies, carrots, grapes...🍇

Works for me. 😏

At these parties the instructor holds up an already completed painting. In this case, our assignment was to paint a snowman putting an ornament on a tree. She led us through each step. Cover the canvas with vanilla. Use the taupe for shading. Yellow provides a pale sun. Then white circles for the snowman. A brown strip for the tree. Easy peasy.

The room is relatively quiet, everyone focused on her project. I commented to Fran how relaxing it felt to sit there and just think about the painting. How wide to make the tree? How much green for the pine needles? I wasn't thinking about politics, or the diet I want to try the week before Thanksgiving, or the deadline for my third Harlequin Heartwarming book. I was just pondering about what to put in the empty space beneath the snowman.

Later that evening, I tell my daughter about my day. She, in turn, tells me about visiting a friend from her time in the Air Force. It was, after all, the day after Veteran's Day. Her friend wonders whether she made the right decision to remain in the military. During her four-hour drive, my daughter wonders if she made the right decision to leave the military. We are always thinking, pondering past decisions.

Thoughts can take on a life of their own. One of the benefits of my new writing career is the inability to write and think about things that bother me at the same time. When my twins first left home, I worried a lot. One evening, talking with the daughter attending Penn State, her phone went dead. She was walking home after work, along a street I knew to have dark areas. I panicked and called campus police. They found her safe in her dorm room. So yes, thoughts can run rampant if we allow. Thinking about my characters, how to get them from Point A to Point B, how to make them more interesting to the reader, helps me control runaway thoughts.

Later it hits me. Writing is therapy. So is painting. The act of creating takes you out of your head and in so doing, provides a wonderful sense of peace.

I think that explains the popularity of coloring books for adults. They're everywhere! So try one. Give yourself a little gift of time to focus and relax. Or begin a creative project to get through the holidays. Paint a picture. Knit a scarf. Build a bookcase. Try a new recipe. Whatever you choose, be in the moment. Focus.

By the way, I put a bunny rabbit in the empty space.
Works for me.🐇
P.S. An Allegheny Homecoming, the second book in the Home to Bear Meadows series, is due out April, 2017. The first, of course, is Wanted: The Perfect Mom.
As always, enjoy the read!
T.R.www.trmcclure.com

17 comments:

  1. You're so right, it is impossible to write and think about our problems. Perhaps that's why writing has always been a tremendous stress reliever for me. I also love to work jigsaw puzzles when I'm feeling anxious.

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  2. Love your snowman picture. I used to embroider to relax. Gave that up. Like Jill I did a lot of puzzles. Gave that up. I do have a couple of coloring books that my kids gave me. Lately I can't seem to sit and color. I find these times trying, so I need something to help me relax. My morning walk helps. I think we need paint parties here. The wine and cheese kind.

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    1. I think I'd like to come to your paint party, Roz. :)

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    2. Thanks. It was fun. I'm sure you could find a budding artist to lead your own party.

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  3. T.R., you painting is adorable! I've been invited to a couple of these painting parties but I'm such a terrible artist I've declined to attend. It does look like fun, though. I think we all need those activities that help us escape life sometimes. Writing used to be a great stress reliever for me before the world of deadlines, synopses, and proposals. Exercise always works for me, running, walking, or going to a pilates/yoga class.

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    1. Believe me, it wasn't hard. The instructor led us through each step. Anyone could do it!

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  4. I love this! I really want to try one of those adult coloring books. Don't laugh, but one of my biggest stress relievers is to play the Sims. You know, one of those video games where you create a person and lead them through a their virtual life. I've been known to create some rotten characters just to kill them off. Wait, did I say that out loud?

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    1. I've killed off characters because I realized I had too many people in the room!

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  5. The painting turned out lovely. Can't wait to read your book.

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  6. T.R., I love your painting. It has so much personality! I have absolutely no hand-eye coordination, so am terrible at sketching or trying to paint, even with my artist-husband offering advice. But he insists the best paintings are feeling-driven and don't have to be representational. Writing is sometimes relaxing for me, but then I've just created someone else's problems to drive a story, and when I'm seriously invested in them, I worry as much about their problems as I do my own. Do you ever find that because you're trying to give the H and H each an equal voice, you sometimes end up in a dilemma where you're not sure whose attitude should prevail? Or, maybe that's the point or romance - we find a way for them to coexist. Whoa. Heavy stuff for 7:35 a.m. Love your snowman and the bunny, T.R.

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  7. That's a great painting, so cheerful and sweet. I agree, creating something pulls you out of yourself is relaxing and satisfying, especially something visual. A painting party in the company of others sounds even more fun. I'll look forward to the next book. I loved the first.

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  8. I loved your post--and the painting complete with bunny rabbit.

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  9. Love your snowman and the tree. :-) handbuilding with clay takes my mind off of everything.

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