Painting My Feelings

I am not an artist. If you ask me what I think an artist is, I wouldn’t know how to describe it exactly. I know I see many beautiful works of art here in the Tri-Cities alone and I also know I don’t feel like I make anything close.    

BUT….What I do, when I can, is paint my feelings. 

Growing up, it was only a pencil that felt right. But now it’s paint. Saturated color, thick and heavy. I push/drag it across the canvas. And the smell…love. Although tempura paints used by schools for elementary kids, by contrast, smells like death. Ick.

Black ink on white paper is also a favorite. Simple and clean. Crisp stark contrast. Words and lines! Just that ink seeping into the fibers of the paper. That alone is mesmerizing to me some days. I don’t get nearly enough time these days, but when I do I usually just start scratching. Creating lines of hectic chaos…or lines of soft swirls…or words. Just words. That don’t even connect sometimes. Except in my brain. It’s a weird happiness it brings me.

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I get lost in my thoughts. It feels like healing. Until…I ruin it and toss it. I do that. A lot.

Sometimes I will actually keep it. It’s not like it’s a masterpiece. Nothing of lifelike beauty to show real artistry. But it just speaks to me…like a prayer in picture. Like this one….

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The orange and red! The blue and black! I used so much paint. Over and over. I loved the feeling those colors made me feel. And then the infinite image…the forced effort. The frustration. I had felt so frustrated with my son that week! And I knew he felt just as frustrated with me. It was a hard time. Is this him, or me? Neither…or both, I don’t know. I don’t plan it. It’s just feeling that frustration with communication! It’s just so hard. everyone takes it for granted. Talking. It’s a daily battle! Every time I see this simple painting, (in my garage), I sigh. It releases that tension. Yes…it’s still hard. But it’s ok. We are fighting this battle together.  

I know if I tried to, I could draw something or paint something beautiful. Kind of beautiful. At least I used to be able too. Sometimes I feel like I lost that part of me. I don’t feel that I can create like that right now. What I feel most right now, is motherhood. I love being a mom more than anything, but it’s the hardest thing ever! Emotionally hard. 

So like this one….one day I’m in the garage, melting in the heat. My paint was old and clumpy. This stormy feeling just came out. I wasn’t sure it wouldn’t just be like many of my blurred messes of paint I end up pitching. It dried fast on the hot canvas. It didn’t matter. It felt right.

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I felt like the storm in my head had many different voices. I was so overwhelmed with so much to do. So many decisions to make. Important ones. I didn’t start out painting a sky…it just happens like that.  And when I stepped back, I felt it was only half the story. Where was I in that thundering furious hurricane-like sky? There I am. I’m bobbing along. I’m still above water. ‘Keep swimming’ I tell myself often. Such a great little saying. Because even when I feel I’m unable to do much…I can still float. This storm will pass. It always does. 

Again…not that special. It’s not like a piece I expect anyone to Ooooh over. But to me, it felt complete. I kept it.

My art is mine. It’s for me. I’m trying to save more just to remember this time in my life. It’s not about how good or bad they are. They make me feel better. I’m thankful for my gift. I know there are truly gifted artists out there. Like AMAZING ones! I am not that artist. And it’s ok I think. To just be ok…to just enjoy doing it. I paint and draw on the wall for my kids. I doodle on everything. I have shared my talent of poster and prop making with elementary schools for years and had the most fun doing it. Mostly I crack myself up with the dumb sketches I draw to vent feelings. It’s surprisingly therapeutic.

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So maybe I didn’t grow up to be a cool artist like I dreamt…but it’s still in my heart. I’m a mom…but you will find me in the art aisles of the stores looking at pencils and ink pens and paint like they are diamonds. I don’t have a degree, I can’t quote you on art history. I’m not an artist. Not a real one. But I am forever a student of art. A lover of art and creating. I love that humans create! It’s what makes us…different and special and interesting. Maybe one day, I’ll get to study again? Maybe not. Oh well, it’s always my free therapy! 😀

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Suzy Higley

Suzy Higley

Wife to my childhood sweetheart. Stay-at-home mom of 3 awesome boys, ages 14, 12, and 5. My youngest is non-verbal and has Autism. Currently starting a community with other Autism Moms called Better Together. More social learning opportunities for our kids on the spectrum are needed...and because I couldn't find them, I'm creating them. I also draw and paint on both paper and walls...and furniture. And speaking of furniture, I have a chronic furniture rearranging condition that I'm seeking help for. Not really...it's my favorite.

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  • Ummm….you ARE an artist. You can try and say you aren’t, but such words don’t possess the power to alter reality. And reality is, you’re a gifted artist. This is amazing Suzy. You’re amazing!

  • Suzy Garza Higley

    Thank you Keith. I cringe reading this. I had decided to edit it last night and be less emotional…but John didn’t know I had decided that. :0 …. Oh well, I guess I have let my freak flag fly often on here. Lol. Thanks for the kind words. I do love creating. Whether I think it’s good or bad, I will always feel the need to doTHAT. 🙂

  • Elsie Puig

    Umh, hello?! Not an artist? I loved all these! The screaming woman, the duck one, the scribbly one and my favorite “Of course, I’m listening” one! LOL! You were just hiding all your art from the world. To me, you totally are an artist. Let your freak flag fly! Love it, Suzy, and I am going to miss you writing for us. 🙁

  • Suzy Garza Higley

    thank you! 🙂

  • littlemad

    Thank you for sharing. I liked what you wrote 🙂

  • Sara Taylor

    Word! I was thinking the same.

  • Lou Galindo

    You’re a nutball. I think you’re a great artist and you need to give yourself props for what you do. Not everyone has a talent like that and I think you need to be more proud and all “heck, yeah, I’m an artist!” =)