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. 🙂

0 thoughts on “The Balloon Tree

  1. Diane says:

    Unbelievably you addressed the same problem I was kicking myself over last night. I get so caught up and enthusiastic about what seems like too many things. Should I cut back or just enjoy the ride and I see you are all for enjoying the ride!
    So yes I too seem to have a Balloon Tree… drawing, painting, ukulele, origami, knitting both hand and machine. Some of these are current some I have put away probably for good. I get caught up in these creative activities but I guess that is ME, my LIFE, and the way I love to live it.

    • jenpedwards says:

      Diane, I share all of these same creative loves, except the machine knitting (though I’m sure if I got my hands on a machine I’d be hooked). And add to that list crochet, designing knit and crochet stuff. Whenever I have thought I put something away for good, it eventually calls to me (the “Call of the Bins” post) and out it comes again. Glad this was helpful. It felt like a bit of divine encouragement to me. Thanks for taking the time to comment here!

  2. Nora says:

    You both hit the nail on the head for my frustration in the creative element of my life. Guess i should just relax and enjoy the ride as well. Thanks for the expressing this “problem” so well. Now to get back to my prayer flags…must make one to represent “focus”!

    • jenpedwards says:

      Thanks for visiting and commenting Nora! I wonder if maybe we should think of it as “focusing” on the particular balloon that has just been nudged free, until the next balloon sets sail and we can then “focus” on it. The problem does aris when I feel like too many balloons get loose all at once!!! AAAACCCKKK! What’s a girl to do, but to go along for the ride, as you say!

  3. Winter Owls says:

    I couldn’t believe my eyes when I read this post, it’s exactly what has been worrying me! You’ve actually given me a feeling of relief; if someone as talented as you can do many different creative things, then I think I can too! Thank you!

    • jenpedwards says:

      It is something that has plagued me most of my life! I have had some help along the way in sorting through all the creative loves I have. You might like to read this post:
      But yesterday’s revelation through this drawing was also “I can’t believe my eyes” kind of thing! As if I was being encouraged and spoken to through the drawing! I am very glad it is helpful to you and others! Have a great day!

    • jenpedwards says:

      Tee Hee! I like that Sandra! I think you do too with your paintings, zentangles, quilting, etc. From one balloon juggler to another: thank you so very much for visiting!

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