Painting is Messy!

Painting is Messy!

A metaphor for Life? (Art imitating Life…or visa versa)

Hi my art loving friends. I have a confession to make…I’m a messy painter.

There, I said it.

I often have paint up and down my arms, spots on my face and in my hair, always under my nails and on my ring. I’ve gone through multiple aprons that I wear to “protect” my clothes underneath, which is laughable because I can show you pants and shirts that are crazy-covered with overspray or drips coating all articles I wear in the studio.

I don’t wear gloves as many of my contemporaries do – which would keep my hands in better shape. Actually, I like the feel of paint on my skin and don’t mind washing it off. I bet you can imagine what the floor of my studio looks like! LOL!! Believe me, my husband is grateful I have a studio separate from our living space to create. Painting is a messy business! At least that’s what I found. I marvel at my artist friends who literally paint in their everyday clothes and never get a speck on them! Amazing!

What’s the significance to tell you all this? There isn’t any deep metaphor here, other than the revelation that I don’t avoid being messy. In fact, when I was a kid – I liked playing in the mud, being covered in sand, going into the creek to find the tadpoles and yes, when I cooked anything, it likely found its way onto the counters and floor! The irony with this story is I like my house kept neat and tidy, and I certainly don’t like a messy kitchen when I’m cooking! Maybe I’m channeling my pre-teen creative when I’m in the studio, or simply not getting bogged down with the need to keep my creative space pristine. Arms and knives flying, music playing loud, going from canvas to canvas unwrapping the visions in my head…there’s magic in the process of creating, especially when it’s with abandon!


If there’s one thing I deeply appreciate about 2020, it’s coming back to this place of creating with messy abandon! This year is messy. Life can be messy. Those things don’t feel good, BUT if you can find a way to walk through the messy in a clever or creative way, I think you will find, like me, there’s peace in the messy, there’s even joy in it! No, not everything in this season is joy-filled – believe me, I feel that first hand! But there’s still peace and joy to be found.

So my art loving friends, let’s do this messy life together! Celebrate the good, encourage in the difficult and create beauty in the in between.




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Thank you Lyn for sharing your thoughts! The comparison you draw from as being a messy painter is indeed a great metaphor for the messy conditions we all find ourselves living in. It is a reminder that even in the messiest of times in our lives, we can and we will make it through with God’s help.

Susan Bowman

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