I watched an overworked friend keep still for an hour and with great heed, draw a blue circle on paper. She looked completely serene, as if rendering the perpetual loop meant she never had to eat a sandwich on her office table for lunch again. We were at Michelle’s farm for the long weekend. Tita Merle, full of wisdom, remembered to leave a blank canvass beside the window, there to capture anyone’s creative genius. I wonder how many people have marched on, ignoring the very bare and needy canvass, the drying paints and brushes, even the outdoor landscape that was just screaming to be made immortal on paper. Children couldn’t resist immaculate white paper with such assortment of paints and pastels. Their greedy hands would be itching to create. And you have, in barely seconds, enough art to carpet an entire floor. But adults, we barely notice it. And when we do, we say our ohs and ahs, “our “oh how lovely but I can’t draw.” We get retreat back to whatever adult thing we were doing, that thing we were masters at. I do not know what it was about that place. Maybe it was a drab canvass leaning against a backdrop of Picasso sky. Or maybe it were the children, spearheading the task with gusto, edging on the adults. Maybe it was the chat we just had, about losing winks and lunch hours for a white Mercedes and fortress we do not have time to enjoy. She had just reminisced about fifteen years ago, when she could still write poetry and prose, when she lazed away time imagining the next gift to wrap, the next basket to fill, the design of her stationery. And her nostalgic self edged her on. She lay hold of the canvass, and decided to take on the epic task of painting again after fifteen years. I left to chat with the gang and my overworked-now-artist friend was completely immersed in her colors and lines. We saw her an hour later, as she sashayed to our circle, to draw her perpetual blue. Did I mention the last time she held a paintbrush was 15 years ago? Yet today as I watched her take her place among my children, she was a child again, fascinated of colors, respecting the cobalt blue and the carmine red, seeing the forest and the trees. Out of her mind were lunches spent munching sandwiches while she typed and work that followed her home, watched her while she slept. I realized then that we should always have some art in our lives: have the courage to always stop and paint some color into our drab canvasses; have the spunk to dive into painting (poetry, dance or song.)
It took an hour for their work of art. My children had run off, leaving me with their art of lines and hearts. The lines and hearts were everywhere, and they now wanted to swim in them. My artist friend went home with her carmine red lines and a cobalt blue loop. She knew that next week, even while having lunch at her office table, she could escape the drab with a memory of getting drunk on colors and diving into an infinite blue.
Always be intoxicated! To escape being the martyred slaves of time, be ceaselessly drunk. On wine, on poetry, on virtue, as you wish. But always be intoxicated.” Charles Baudelaire