30 December 2013

Painting as contemplation

Painting, for me, is a contemplative activity. Not painting of pictures (those of you who know me know that I am not artistic or crafty!) but painting walls. Hubby has spent the better part of this month preparing our hallway for painting, including removing wallpaper and horrible, ugly ancient plaster ceiling tiles; re-gibbing the ceiling and installing a loft access (with a little help from his dad); plastering; sanding; plastering some more; sanding some more; and installing a new ceiling light fitting. I came in when the paintbrushes and rollers came out (once I was on leave), and helped with painting the skirting and door surrounds, and once all of the white was finished, doing the wall edging with the brush while hubby did the roller. And now we have a blue hallway!

But I digress. I find painting a contemplative activity: with only the swish of my brush for company, the silence outside reaches into the stillness inside. I like doing the edging because I am up close and personal to the wall: I can't paint with a brush from far away, like you can with a roller on an extension pole (and the extension pole is required here: we have a 3m stud!). Admittedly I spent rather longer up the ladder than I really like to reach the edges near the ceiling but it is still a time of peace and joy. Seeing the walls slowly change colour from gib and plaster to blue; making sure I got carefully into all the nooks and crannies around the doorframes and powerboard; feeling the satisfaction of a job completed. Contemplation.

After the busyness of the final days of Advent and work, then getting ready for Christmas, and then time in Auckland with hubby's family, being up the top of a ladder with a pot of paint and a brush returned me to a needed level of simplicity, silence, and contemplation. Not that I didn't enjoy those other things: it was just time for silence and stilness. If a paintbrush is a necessary adjunct to that, then so be it.

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