Aventures of the Masked Canary
What did you like to do as a child?
I loved to paint. I just did it and didn’t think much about it. I started to think about it around the age of 14 and then it became a challenge to perfect the art of realism. Although still fully absorbed in the act of painting I started to worry and fret about it not being good enough. It was no longer a case of self-expression, it was all about accuracy and perfection. The ideals of high achievement, so valued in other subjects at school, filtered through into my work in the art department. Except this was different. Other subjects I could handle. Languages for example, were all about fact-learning, logic and communication; things that I found a lot easier at the time. Art, I found, left me far too exposed and vulnerable. It wasn’t until a couple of years later when the French teacher asked if anyone was interested in living and working in France that I leapt into the unknown and rediscovered my passion for painting.
The French I discovered were passionate about everything: from worker’s rights, to food, to the arts. It was the first time that I was introduced to the idea of having a passion rather than an interest or a hobby. Vive la passion! The family that I was staying with accepted the fact that I had la passion for l’art and arranged for me to go to life drawing classes with one of their colleagues who was also afflicted. Head full of ideas about being a free-spirited artist, I was a bit miffed with the idea of being chaperoned, as was the way back then in the 80s in le Sud de la France. In my mind, a 17 year old who travelled hundreds of miles by train and ferry with station changes in London and Paris and with the responsibility of looking after two children, the cooking and the housework, was more than capable of taking care of herself. What I didn’t realise at the time was the weight of responsibility that the children’s parents must have felt for me. Nonetheless, I reckoned I was bohemian enough just by virtue of the subject matter i.e. nude life models. It was certainly an eye opener but I stepped up to the challenge and just got on with it. In hindsight too, la famille were actually very open-minded re the whole thing. Makes me wonder whether nowadays, everyone would have needed a CRB check before I entered the room! lol. Anyway, the hard work and dedication paid off when I was accepted into my first choice of art college with the work I did in my time off from child care and domestic duties.
Life has a habit of going round in full circle and I now find myself back the realms of child care and domestic duties – this time with my own offspring and house. Still juggling, still wishing I had a fully functioning magician’s wand but still with la passion. I tried to suppress my creative side for a number of years, concentrating on partying and travelling and it worked for quite some time. I really had a ball! Life was soooo good! Another passion – skiing – dominated my life. I loved everything about it: the challenge, the sense of freedom, the majestic views, the unpredictability of the weather, the social side, the living in the moment. I could go on. A defining moment came during my third Alpine visit in as many months and I realised I was bored. BORED! What was wrong with me? I loved skiing, so what was wrong? I couldn’t shake off the feeling and a few months later saw me upping sticks again, living and working in a new country about to embark on another arts related course. Back to the arts again!
Changes can happen in a dramatic way, as evidenced in my youth or they can have a slow and gradual effect. Change sometimes happen whether we want it or not. Resistance to change can be painful or it can be an indicator that your reaction to the change needs to be duly noted. Is it time to adapt or is it indeed time to move on? All I know is that in this fast-changing world, so long as I tap into that inner child who once painted just because she felt like it, then I too can keep up. Perhaps one day I will be in the lead, the change-maker, but for now I will play my small part with la passion.
Salut mes amies
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