Saturday 4 September 2021


It was my good friend C's 50th birthday last Sunday. When I met her for lunch the week before she told me she was hoping her kids might get her a Steven Brown print - of a pair of rainbow-coloured giraffes, or a jolly Highland cow, perhaps - "And maybe one day you'll do me a painting too!" 

I know the sound of a gauntlet hitting the ground when I hear it, and funnily enough I'd already been pondering the idea of doing a birthday painting for her - I'd just felt uncertain as to what she might like. So this conversation gave me a bit of a steer (if not a McCoo, if you'll pardon the pun) in the right direction: rainbow bright colours (see also Elmer the Elephant), simple/bold design, cheerful subject-matter. 

Since painting animals isn't really my forte I decided to go for her favourite flowers instead - after all, there's nothing cheerier than a sunflower in full bloom! At this stage I'd normally start fretting about getting things "right" - searching for reference material and generally tying myself in knots before even starting - but the 100 Day Project really seems to have lessened my anxiety about simply putting brush to canvas and seeing what happens. So I put brush to canvas and this is what happened:

I'm not claiming it's a masterpiece (the market in sunflower-based masterpieces was cornered over 130 years ago) but there was something so liberating about just using my imagination and making things up as I went along. I liked the jolly little still life I ended up with, and so did its intended recipient, which really was the icing on the (birthday) cake.

In the past, the harsh voice of my inner (perfectionist) critic and the judgements of others have often reduced me to a state of creative near-paralysis. Now I think I'm starting to edge a little closer to a mindset where I worry less about the opinions of others, and where I'm free to be my imperfect self and feel that that is "good enough" - in a "feel the fear and do it anyway" kind of way. 

I'm applying the same principles in other areas of my life too - this week I went to the hairdressers and had eight inches of hair cut off, leaving me with little more than an inch or so all over. I basically "went the full Judi", as I've been wanting (but too scared) to do for years, and the unexpected bonus (suggested by the hairdresser) was that the off-cuts were long enough to send to the Little Princess Trust to be used to make wigs for children with cancer! (I'm assured that they can be dyed to more-age-appropriate colours than greyish-brown!)
Three days later, after the initial shock of seeing my face, neck and ears emerging from the wilderness,  I am loving the fuss-free lightness and freedom of having next-to-no hair. I am also realising that it is co-o-o-ld and draughty without it... which is where all those knitted hats and scarves have finally come into their own! It's almost like 'Past Me' knew what she was doing after all... 

No comments:

Post a Comment