Beasts of the Sea

The Beasts of the Sea by Henri Matisse, 1950

This afternoon I spent some time preparing for an art class I’m teaching to some homeschooled kids. Part of the project is inspired by the collages Matisse made later in life. Painting with scissors. Matisse, though not always in good health, and with a multitude of family problems, found solace and rejuvenation in making art. Good for him. I also felt relaxed, centered, and purposeful when I was preparing the project.

Why don’t I make art more? Why can’t I convince myself that it is important for me to work on something that destresses me? Instead I fly around the house, getting wound up. I’ve been happy again, which is my warning that I’m going to crash soon. What if I knew that I could cushion the crash by painting? Would I do it? Or would I insist on getting my laundry folded and making a casserole when a pan of chicken strips in the oven would do just as well? I do know that I have to decide these things now, because later, when I’m not thinking straight, I won’t choose to do anything good for me.

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