At my daughter’s piano lesson Wednesday afternoon, I had thirty minutes to occupy. Could have done some of the weekly tasks in Julia Cameron’s book, could have planned for Thanksgiving, could have done lots of things. But I needed a complete break and this was the only time I was going to get an opportunity, so I pulled out my lovely little Koi watercolor set that I picked up in England this summer (it is the only one I’ve seen with a mini water brush & sponge instead of a paintbrush–love it!) and went for the tree-against-moonlit-sky scenario that I am drawn to lately.
This time, however, the fir tree that usually turns up stayed away. Instead I got this spiky tree (looks like the ball moss that turns up in trees around here in Central Texas). Mixing up the deep blue-green that I used for the spiky bits was fun. I didn’t have any time to think about things or get wound up that I didn’t have specific instructions on exact proportions. I just played. It was a good time.
Part of what made it fun was that a mom who is also usually there with her little one-year-old while the older child has a guitar lesson came over to see what I was doing (“Oh, you’re painting, is that what you’re always doing?”). I showed her my on-the-go journal box that I put together and some of the things in it. We agreed that neither of us wanted to spend our time waiting for our kids on playing iPhone games. She felt that she didn’t have time yet to do anything creative like this, and I did my best to encourage her and emphasize that you can do a lot in five minutes here, ten minutes there. Sure, it’s not the same as going into the garage, putting loud music on, and getting lost in your mind painting a huge canvas for a couple of hours–but when you’re the parent of a small child, or even a medium-size child, for most of us that is a dream out of reach. But five minutes, ten minutes? That can be done. And it’s a lot better than throwing your life away on Bejeweled and Tetris.