The tree would have a life force, a face of an old soul - an old man tree, if you will. He'd be smiling because of the beauty taking place around him: three dimensional cutouts of butterflies that I'd specially purchased for this painting would be manipulated and carefully glued to the canvas as the last touch. An explosion of butterflies flying into the air at the break of day. That was my plan.
Then, my husband became ill.
In and out of the ER with no apparent cause to the severe abdominal pain that caused him to become violently ill whenever he ate. We waited for doctor's appointments and fretted about what was wrong with him. Hernia? Gallbladder? Intestinal blockage?
While we waited for answers I continued to work on my painting, both as a distraction to my worrisome attitude and because I looked forward to seeing the work finished. Somewhere though, as my mind focused more and more on my worries I began neglecting to pay attention to what I was doing on the canvas. I went on 'auto-pilot' as they say. Before I knew it, I was done with my sky. The sunrise I started just before my husband became ill was shining. There were the oranges and yellows and reds beaming on the left side of the canvas. But as the eye moved to the right side, the day, instead of being streaked with morning sunlight, turned to utter blackness.
I tend to forget this about myself: I paint according to how I feel. Clearly my choice of colors indicated that I was painting from a darker place than I had been several days prior.
Well, this screwed up everything. The butterflies would never work, now. Not unless I painted them in shadow....and why would butterflies be flying when it's still dark outside? It wouldn't work.
I agonized about what to do. I didn't want to paint over the black sky. It was obviously meant to be that way (even if I hadn't realized it at the time) but what on earth would I paint in order to pull this piece together? Why was old man tree smiling? He had nothing to smile at, that's for sure.
I brainstormed. Maybe Northern Lights? How about an owl in flight (thanks to my friend Kyra for that suggestion). Actually, I did try the owl and I think I ended up comparing it to a malnourished chicken in flight.
Finally, I decided to give up and sleep on it, hoping the answer would come to me.
Around 4 AM the next morning I awoke and knew exactly what I would paint. This is the final painting:
I titled this piece: Awaiting Play at Light of Day
The beautiful thing about images like this is that anyone can create his/her own story as to what's happening here. This version is mine: Clearly the tree is happy at the rising sun because that means the child who lives in the cottage will be coming out soon to play on the tree swing.
For a painting that I agonized over, a painting that I nearly tossed in the throw away pile a couple of times - it turned out to be the most shared, most 'liked' painting I've ever shown on my Fan/Business page of Facebook. It reached nearly 700 people and it sold shortly after that to a woman whom I know will treat it with the greatest of care. It makes me happy to look at it. It makes me feel accomplished in that I didn't give up on it. It taught me to trust my instinct. Above all else, it showed me that no matter how much I plan, things aren't always going to turn out the way I want. Sometimes they turn out better.