Tuesday, August 20, 2013

If Fishes were WIshes

I have had a lot on my mind lately. More than usual. To the point where I have had trouble managing it all and I am not behaving properly in some instances. For instance, a couple weeks ago, some friends were helping me at Art Unraveled (you know who you are, Deb & Marilyn) and I yelled at them. Yes, I yelled at my friends. No excuse for this, I mean seriously....
Because I am strung out with a variety of business and personal things. My business is growing like crazy (ok, that's a good thing, not a problem) and my husband has cancer (yes, it was caught early and it's a curable kind, also a good thing).
And I don't get enough time to make art. There I said it. The truth is out. Managing a busy art career reduces that actual time you spend making art.
Go figure, huh?
Anyway, I was asked to participate in a show called Inspirations, sponsored by Chesterfield Arts. The gallery gathers amazing artworks created by kids in the special needs program, Kalaidescope. The professional artists (me & others) select a work and respond by making another piece of work. All the pieces are sold to raise monies for the program. The opening was this past Friday night.
Flash back a few weeks.
I got the painting, a lovely piece by a girl named Samantha.

I liked it a lot, it reminded me of a Georgia O'Keefe and I was attracted to the fluidity and movement in the piece. I later found out that Samantha had learned about O'Keefe and that the painting was about her!
So I started to paint.
Ugly stuff, it was like I had never held a brush before. Geez. The deadline was looming and I had not a thing to deliver. Called the gallery, begged for more time, yes I have apparently turned into "one of those' artists. Ahem. 
Finally, I started to play. Yes, just play, messing around with Scribbles and pretty origami papers. Cutting out pieces here and there, pulling random text I had collect. Somehow the text started to look like FISH to me.
close up of text
close up of texture
I kept working, I mean I like fish. Sure I had been going for flowers, but fish are good, right? I worked wet in wet, allowing the Scribbles to provide linear interest. The colors layered up in intriguing ways and I started to like the piece, it wasn't like anything I had ever done before, but I really liked it. Of course it was soooooo wet that it had to dry for about 12 hours before I could do more work on it. Ha!!
And finally it was done. I varnished it and celebrated that I had something I liked. I mentally thanked Samantha for her inspiration.
As I wrote up the statement for the piece, I realized that it had taken me on a journey. Truly, one of those things I never could have planned. I examined the piece one last time and that is when I saw the message, something evidently meant for my husband in light of his upcoming surgery. I didn't even realize it was there.
I think the painting wrote it really.
 "dear heart, grow well. expect hope. delight, soul spirit"


  1. Mary Beth, this is an amazing post. You never fail to inspire me. I will keep your husband in my prayers. Continue to play my friend.

  2. so brave, mary beth! thank you for sharing (especially about the yelling part. we're human. we're women. it happens (and yet, i still want to achieve the mastery over myself that i never yell again...perhaps that's a silly, heavy standard of perfection, i'm not sure but i do know that all we can do is forgive and carry on.)

    you and your husband will be in my thoughts and i love how that painting came together, with a message for him, through you, and also for you.

    sidenote: what caught my eye was the title of your post. i once wrote a blog piece called: "if wishes were fishes" and also want to write/illustrate a children's book by the same name BUT i've come to find it's not as common a phrase as i thought i was when i was a kid. i want to say my grandmother used to say it but i'm not entirely sure it was her or just her. haven't come across it, or any variation, though, in years <3

  3. Anonymous3:49 PM

    MB, We all appreciate your put it out there honesty. Love that this piece took you through the journey it intended for itself. That is when art is ART!

  4. It's a beautiful painting, Mary Beth, not least for it's message. Big hugs to you and hub, and every good wish for a successful surgery and speedy recovery. xox

  5. What an amazing message that emerged from your painting.
    Keeping you and John in my thoughts and prayers.

  6. Anonymous5:48 PM

    Such beautiful words for your journey. Healing thoughts for John and you too. Love this journey and how you moved through it, even the ugly parts of not feeling your muse...it's all part of it isn't it? xox

  7. Always a good thing when you listen to your art (and your heart). The blessing of good friends is that we are always here to catch you if you fall... and will hold you gently in our hearts until you are ready to fly again... Or go out for yogurt, whichever happens to occur first. And as Dorie says in Nemo... just keep swimming!! Best to you and John..xoxox

  8. Honestly, Mary Beth, it is so refreshing to hear that you are no different than the rest of us! I too have been suffering from artist block for the past several months and actually had my first "good" art day today!!! I appreciate your honesty and writing about it in this post. I try to remember that every day is a blessing, but it does not always guarantee it will be a good art day and on the good art days...the whole journey is sooooo much better! Congratulations on your recent successes and I will keep you and your husband in prayer.

  9. Prayers and thoughts for you and John," be well John we can't do without you :-) " Such a journey my friend, frantic and beautiful and challenging and blessed all rolled into one.

  10. Wonderful MB. Love the post and your thoughts and your art. You are an inspiration, dear friend, as is John. bud


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