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Art Journal 9/11/13: Leaves from the Rooftop

Watercolors on Moleskine watercolor sketchbook

September 11, 2013

As a general rule, if I want to get work done, I need to either:

  1. work somewhere that is not the office.
  2. work at the office after office hours or on a Sunday.

Because, as a general rule, working at the office during office hours is the perfect way to get a lot of work done except your own. I don’t mind this, usually, because it’s good for everyone when someone finishes their work. But when I need or want to get something written, I need to hide away.

Sometimes it’s in my favorite bakery or coffeeshop. Other times, it’s somewhere in the office building where nobody bothers to look.

Today, I had a long list of things to write and chose to hang out on the roof deck.

The roof deck of our office building is nice, cool and windy. In the distance, you can see the Macajalar Bay and the Bohol Sea. If you’re lucky, you can even see the island of Camiguin sitting on the horizon. But I think the most interesting part of this vantage point is that you have the most perfect view of all the foliage shooting up in between houses and buildings and then as far as the eye can see.

It looked so strikingly beautiful to me that I found myself restlessly browsing online watercolor paint catalogs instead of doing what I had come up there to do. After several minutes of feeling very frustrated, I realized that I was not actually frustrated because of all the colors I cannot add to my palette.

(Oh, PW6:1, PO71 and PO49… I covet you all so… For how long must I live only to admire you from beyond this computer screen? Shall I never know how your silky, delicate pigments feel against my cold-pressed paper? Shall I never know the beauty of your vibrant color mixed with my PB29?)

I was frustrated because I needed to take in the moment. And for me, the best way to do that is to paint the moment. With my 7-color watercolor palette that is really already perfectly fine as it is. (I know that I need you not, my pretty water-colors, but in my heart of hearts I shall forever long for you as the eagle longs to touch the sky that is yet always beyond its reach.) So I ran downstairs, grabbed the palette I always have handy, ran back up and painted, effectively forgetting both work and lunch.

It’s not that I don’t have the self control to stop myself. (Or do I?) It’s just that I have realized that the one thing that makes life worthwhile is to stop and take in the beauty-despite-all-odds that surrounds us. Being in the moment and savoring the moments we are blessed with is, to me, the best prayer of all.

For several glorious moments, I am caught up with the greens and oranges and golds and the slightest hints of blush-pink and the rough textures of leaves from afar and the smoothness of the individual leaves nearby.

And then, as I break away from this trance, I realize: I have to get back to work again.

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