Painting My Mama with Thread

The hard beginning means planning.

But before that, before the beginning, there is the little glowing seed that one day materializes inside your solar plexus.

Parenthetically, If you Google "solar plexus," as I just did (to make sure it was actually a thing, of course) here's what you'll find: "[it's] a complex system of radiating nerves and ganglia...found in the pit of the stomach in front of the aorta...part of the sympathetic nervous system...." Impressive. Couldn't be a more precise description of the place where the little glowing seed takes root! 

seed in the old solar plexus

And even though it doesn’t use language, the seed somehow talks to you. It says, "Hey! Hey you! Pay attention!" But it's really easy to ignore, because at first, you can’t really understand it. It talks in parables. Or maybe something is lost in the transmission along all those radiating nerves and ganglia. Besides, it's voice is so small, and its glint so intermittent, that it really takes an additional force to amplify it. The force can be your daughter encouraging you, or a brainstorming session in your journal, or maybe a serendipitous road sign that says “Anything is Possible,” or something. (How often do these things happen? How many seeds go unheard?)

When it does happen, when an additional force does amplify an internal message, that’s when the seed becomes a blaring bullhorn! And then you can’t stop hearing it. It niggles and nags and nudges until you get to the hard beginning, even if hard beginnings make you anxious. 

So there you are, planning, and it’s taken you a while to get to this point because planning takes at least several degrees of courage. It’s the middle space between idea and reality. It’s the moment when your faith in the possibility of something swells above your fear of its cost (material or otherwise). And you risk calculating the how of it. And the how-long of it. And all the configurations and fractions of time, effort, cost, and obstacles in between.

For me, all that stuff amounts to the following steps with times & dates nailed down:

  1. Decide the time frame: Aug 14, 8:30-10am
    • When do I want to be done?
    • How many days per week & hours per day can I commit to it?
    • How many such time blocks exist between now and when I want to be done?
    • As a pacing device, divide the composition into that many squares (or some multiple if I think I can do more than one square area per day)
  2. Research & purchase what supplies are out there (types of canvas? types of thread?) - Aug 14, 10-noon
  3. Compose the portrait & take photos - Aug 31, 1:45-2:15pm
  4. Design the stretcher & its proportions - Aug 31, 3:30-4:30
  5. Print the photos in b&w (so I can use gray-scale & be free from color constraints), then tweak the composition with a view finder - Sept 1, 10:30-noon
  6. Purchase wood for stretcher - Sept 10, 8:15-9:30am
  7. Get the table saw out, cut the wood, & build the stretchers - Sept 10, 11am-1pm
  8. Stretch the canvas - Sept 10, 1:30-2:30
  9. Sketch the image, tweak, & Superimpose the squares for pacing - Sept 11th, 3-3:40pm
  10. Now...Ready...Set...Go --complete first square! Sept 15, 11:15am - 2:40pm

Fingers crossed, ya’ll...

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