The Balloon Tree


I sit outside, in a brief interlude of warmth and peace, gazing up at the winter trees. An idea begins to form…those lines, those lovely lines…they make shapes, hold spaces where shape resides.

The idea I have doesn’t take shape fully yet. I’m searching, thinking about these spaces and the shapes that inhabit them.  I can’t sleep ’cause the formless shape won’t let go. I rise early to search it out on paper. I draw.

The shapes that come out are round inside those lined spaces. I didn’t know ’til now. All these circles, these doodles in the tree, the tree that sits IN the path, with a couple others off the path. Why am I drawing this? I still can’t make it out.

I’m nearing the end of my search, my doodling, and one circle, which has lifted off the tree develops a tail and becomes a balloon. A balloon! Oh! How fun! But I still don’t know it’s significance, or why, or what for.

I paint. White opaque gouache mixing with the watercolor, some light tones, some vibrant. Enjoying the process of searching. I “finish” the doodled page wondering what it is, why I had to get this thing out of my head. Would this just be a searching page with no answer? That’s ok.

I go to rinse the chalky water out of my bucket, I clean dishes leftover from the night before. I wonder, a bit frustrated with myself (once again), why I do so many different types of creative stuff, even different types of drawings and  paintings? Why can’t I stick with just one thing? Just splashy watercolor? Or just pastel? Just portraits? Or just knitting? JUST ONE THING?

And it hits me full force, hands in the sudsy dishwater. It’s my tree. My creative tree. Full of bright colored balloons sitting there waiting for the right breeze to come along and nudge them free. No two balloons exactly alike.  Some have shades that are similar, but each one waits to be loosened from the lines. To rise gently and softly, without fanfare, off into the great beyond.

I’m no longer frustrated with myself. I get it now. It’s all ok, these differing ways of creating. It’s because of my Tree, and I like that tree. And there are many balloons yet to be released. And I can’t wait to see what each of them is going to be.

Thank you for checking in on the Balloons that get nudged out of the Tree. Maybe you have a Balloon Tree too? Please share it with me. 🙂