Brushes and paint were spread around me in my den.
I laid the first layer of blue paint across the paper, a “wash” I remembered my teacher calling it. I closed my eyes and tried to envision what it was I wanted to paint. But all I could see was a vast dark void, swirling, menacing storm clouds that seemed to envelop me. My mind was full of anger, fear, panic.
My eleven-year marriage was over. Our finances, I'd discovered, were in shambles. In a few days I would have to leave this house, the place I'd hoped to make a home for my children and husband. Everywhere I looked I was reminded of failure, of cherished dreams that hadn't turned out the way I'd planned.
Like this painting, I thought. A few shapeless strokes on a piece of paper. I stared at it, trying to imagine a scene, someplace far away, something soothing. It was no use.
I'd been an actress all my life, but painting was new to me. I'd only had two one-hour lessons from an artist who had offered to teach me the basics of watercolor. I'd happily accepted, eager for anything that could take my mind away from court filings and financial documents.
“Visualize the details of what you're painting,” my instructor said. “See the shapes and colors, the whites and darks. Sometimes it's what you don't see that's most important.”
How was I supposed to do that after two lessons? I thought as I looked at my nondescript brush strokes on the paper in front of me. I closed my eyes and took a deep breath, but all I could see was darkness. All I could think about were my worries. I said a quick prayer: Please show me a way to find comfort.