When Doll is difficult, Doll’s mom goes painting

When Doll is difficult, Doll’s mom goes painting

Amanda from Belgium

There are yellow sunflowers, a village on the bank of a canal, an eagle measuring the heavens with its wingspan, a very delicate shell…

Uncle Hans expresses the extra water from his paintbrush and resumes with his art work, head bowed. John pours himself strong coffee from the percolator. Then there is Daisy coping with cancer, Esra with the melodic voice, Zuzana whose soul portrays darkness, Eric the Brit … the sun’s light is bright.

We paint together. Each of us settles down in a world of our own, with paintbrush and light. The paper absorbs the pigment water patiently. Bits of the world is portrayed through colour and pallet. Each person looks differently, sees differently, beauty! I recognise a flower, the canal, the eye of an eagle, a sea shell. The same surroundings, but with different eyes of life.

I feel uncomfortable and frustrated with too much water, too much colour, mud…!
Uncle Hans whispers over my shoulder: “Don’t be so critical. Wait. Enjoy the process.”
Strong coffee and a sweet biscuit brings a welcome distance. Wait. Always wait. Peaceful.

Now put away the book-image. Look. Just look at what you have in front of you.”

My painting is upside down, away from my critical eye and at a distance. I look. The others look. I see. It is actually beautiful, very beautiful, I hear myself murmuring. The others nod in approval. Uncle Hans, the grey haired artist, smiles. He knows very well – after years of painting on paper, broken lives sitting at his feet to be taught, his own pallet which was at times devoid of colour, stories and photographs of the sun shining through stained glass cathedral windows.

Add a bit of shade. It adds depth, dimension.” He resumes his position in front of his eagle soaring in the sky. I go and sit in the darkness of the shadow. Shadows are always slightly darker, sometimes powerfully so. But colour is always hiding in the shadows. It is never only black. Carefully mix and then paint.

Don’t be afraid. Get into it. Add more shadow, stronger. Much stronger. Embrace it,” uncle Hans prompts.

I engage in ‘stronger, much stronger’ in a free, wild and reckless manner.

Now do a gentle colour wash over the whole painting. It just draws everything together.”

His eagle flies with strength, beautiful amongst the clouds in the heavenly realms.

A light blue heavenly tint washes over everything. Just like grace.

Paintbrush down. I wait. Unhurried the paint dries. We enjoy a cup of coffee. The light pouring through the windows is awesome.

Then I see; us, mé…

See? Your own Masterpiece! Be patient, stop being so hard on yourself and just keep going.” And my eagle ascends to the heavens soaring on wide outstretched wings, joining uncle Hans’ eagle in the clouds.

I sign my name, in the bottom righthand corner: “Doll’s mom”.

This story was originally published in the autumn edition of My Child and I, 2018.

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