Thursday, February 4, 2016

Keep Pounding

Superbowl weekend is looming.  No matter if you are a football fan or not, you can't escape the Superbowl.  Even if you just watch for the commercials.

I love football.  I follow college football more than pro but I love to watch anyone play.  I almost dread this weekend because I know football is over until August.  This year has been a fun one for us here in Charlotte, as our own Carolina Panthers have had a crazy good season and are headed to the big game on Sunday.  We are still such a young team, it all feels new and fresh and as if we need to pinch ourselves to believe it is really true.  We've taken some heat for our youth and bravado and the flashy way our players celebrate their victories big and small.  Our team mantra through the years has been "keep pounding".  A bittersweet story, it was started by one of our coaches years ago. It was and is a reminder to keep going despite the odds.  (For more on the story, click here: Keep Pounding)

I've been thinking a lot about these things in the last few days. About how they apply to the Panthers, me and all of us really.   I broke my wrist on a family ski trip this past weekend.  On my first run down the hill on the second day.  I knew it wasn't good but I decided to keep skiing the remainder of the day and ignore it the best I could.  The best decision?  I don't know.  It was painful but not impossible and in the end, I don't think I did any more damage to it.   But I flew out there to ski and I wasn't ready to quit even though the odds were against me.  And despite my wrist, I had a great time enjoying all the snow and the breathtaking beauty of Wyoming and Idaho.

Now I am back and looking at the brace on my wrist and trying to figure out how I am going to paint.  Of course, I am right handed and it is my right wrist.  I live to paint.  It is my joy, my meditation, my passion and my job.  I have work to do, big deadlines looming and classes to teach.  As I struggled to do the most mundane of tasks on Tuesday morning, like getting dressed, eating breakfast and even shifting my jeep into drive, I started getting so frustrated.  Tears sprang to my eyes with the effort of it all.  I'm not going to lie to you, I was pissed!  Mad at the situation I found myself in and mad at the timing.

On the way to the studio, the sports segment was on the radio and of course, the Panthers were the subject.  I started thinking about the team and the lessons to be learned from them.

The bravado and the excitement and the celebration.  I know a lot of people think that needs to be played down, but why?  Life and doing what you love should be exciting.   We should celebrate the little things as well as the big things.  If it is not worth the celebration, then maybe it's not worth doing.  Isn't it possible to find just as much joy in that one perfectly placed stroke of paint, as in the completed painting?  Sharing my joy, enthusiasm and love for what I do gets me some funny looks from people that don't understand sometimes but should I let that stop me? It's who I am.  I'd love for everyone to love painting as much as I do, but even though I know that is impossible, I'm not going to temper my excitement because of it.   The lesson we all should learn from them is to let our personality...who we really are, shine through and light up the path that we are on.  

Keep Pounding.  What a mantra for us all.   We all have our struggles with life.  As artists, we all have our struggles with creating.  My wrist is just a small part of my painting.  My hand does the physical labor but my brain and heart and eyes do the real work.  That is where my paintings come from.   That part hasn't changed.  It might take me a little longer, or I might have to figure out a different way to put paint on the canvas but the "me" is still there.  I am not giving up, even temporarily.  I will have to find another way around the problem.

And so, I will continue to paint with a broken wrist, despite those who think I am crazy.  Interestingly enough, even though my arm is exhausted today from painting yesterday, it was the least frustrating thing I did all day.  Much easier than eating with my left hand and trying to get ready in the morning. Maybe it is the joy that I find in it or maybe it is the commitment that I have to it but whatever the reason, I am happy that I can persevere.  And keep pounding.

Early morning in Wyoming - Work in Progress


Karen C. Williams said...

I loved reading this post of yours. And I can relate to it so much. I appreciate your perseverance. You gave me inspiration to keep pounding! I am a beginner painter, about 4 years into it, but it too is my passion! I recently ruptured two discs in my neck and had to have emergency neck surgery just a few days after my only daughter had a c-section and gave birth to our grandson. The timing was just wrong in so many ways. I was supposed to be there for my daughter, to help her post op, to help her with our 2 year old granddaughter and new grandson. But that was not in the cards. I am off work for six weeks, can't move my neck and have to wear a brace. On the bright side, I have rigged up my palette high so I can chose paint without looking down and have actually painted some. I am going to keep pounding, just like you!

Jerry Stocks said...

My right arm is in a cast up to my elbow, and I have not painted for two weeks. But I have been reading "art" the whole time and know what I am going to paint next when I can move my arm again. Like you, I am a big panthers fan and also a big Clemson fan. So we have had a great season at our house. I am going to keep on pounding too.