I finally decided to get back into painting after almost three years. I had been traveling for awhile and living abroad the past couple of years, so the idea of investing in a new easel, brushes, paints, canvases and other supplies gave me the sense of a little more “permanency,” a feeling I’ve realized I sometimes try to avoid. Not that it’s a bad thing, I just normally think of many phases as short-term or temporary, (like the possibility to pick-up and move to another city or country could happen at any given moment, although my husband tells me I’m not realistic. The Italian culture is a bit less prone to change, if you know what I mean) and I’ve always enjoyed the freedom. I guess allowing myself to settle in (for however long or short we’ll be here in Milan) is part of embracing the seasonal changes (see my posts on “Embracing Life’s Seasonal Changes” and “The Moments In-between“).
When my mom was here in September she really encouraged me to start painting again. We checked out art stores and coordinated deliveries because taking canvases on the metro or tram was going to be a bit complicated (100cm x 80cm and 150cm x 100cm) – and the ability for cars to drive through the city center is quite limited (Milan’s efforts in SMOG control). My mom wanted to make sure the goods arrived before she departed so I couldn’t post-pone it any longer (haha, thanks for the nudge, mom). After contemplating for awhile about what to paint, I decided to go for a big, extravagant peacock to add beautiful color to our place … and with the intent to purchase a few new things with the peacock accent colors 🙂
At first I had forgotten how tough oil paints can be when you haven’t painted in awhile – and of course, I had purchased huge canvases thinking I might as well “go big.” So typical. After hours and hours and days and days of changing up the colors and designs, I hit a point where I literally wanted to just splatter paint all over it and throw it away (thankfully, I wasn’t using Acrylics or I might have because oil doesn’t really splatter very well at all) – and luckily my husband was a fan of it through all the various color modifications (every time he came to look at it he commented on how there was suddenly a new color or design in progress and likened it to how I change outfits all the time. Thanks babe).
I realized how much I really enjoyed painting. It had become my new favorite thing to do and I didn’t want to stop (but was forced to so the paints could dry): I’d wake up and work on it first thing in the morning, and then again in the evenings while listening to classical instrumental Christmas music (I know it’s not even Halloween yet but it’s already cold and crisp here!). It was like when you find a great book and can’t put it down until you’ve finished the whole thing. That great feeling of such satisfaction (well, aside from the few moments when I was ready to throw it away). It was a good reminder for me and really for anyone to just start something (anything: a hobby, working out, a diet, a business, a project) and stop finding reasons to put it off, and secondly, when things get tough or boring or you aren’t happy with the results keep pushing forward, change doesn’t happen over night.
A few days ago I decided to research what a peacock represents. I figured the meaning would be something along the lines of beauty, grace or extravagance because peacocks are quite exquisite looking creatures. It turns out (to my surprise) that a peacock symbolizes renewal, immortality and resurrection! When I read that it made me so excited – now I’ll have this vibrant peacock representing renewal and life sitting over my dinner table. It’s just amazing to me that the idea to paint a peacock would come to mind representing these great, powerful things, while going through these season’s of change – there are no coincidences in life – and God speaks in such subtle but profound ways.
Renewal, immortality, resurrection: ancients believed that the flesh of the peacock didn’t decay after death (immortality, resurrection), the peacock naturally replaces its feathers annually (renewal), and some early beliefs held that the Gates of Paradise are guarded by peacocks.