What a Painting Class Taught Me about Birds, Independence, and Motherly Love


My Creation Inspired by Birds

I have always been fiercely independent. At my best I have been described as driven and determined, at my worst selfish and cold. But it’s really just independence, nothing more. I love being around people, I just know who I am and want to walk on my own path through life. Feeling free and uninhibited by outside sources is my favorite feeling. A bird epitomizes my inner spirit. Except for the responsibility to keep themselves fed, watered, and safe, they are completely free. Able to fly away from any strife, any places unsuitable for happiness.  Except for my job and husband, I am completely free and loving the lack of burden that this time in my life is allowing me. Yet I still envy those swallows. Riding the wind without having to answer or ask permission from any other creature and seeing the world away from all the clutter of modern life.

My mother and I have definitely had our ups and downs. Mostly because of my independence and not wanting to be told how to live and my mother’s desire to mother and guide me. Now that we are both a little older, we have forgiven all of the past and now just enjoy rebuilding our relationship and spending time together. I allow her to be a doting mother and she allows me my space. In honor of our new relationship, I took my mom to a painting class for Mother’s Day. She loves crafting of all kinds and I am always fond of the idea of giving memories rather than things for gifts. We could share our interest in art and spend some good ole’ mother/daughter time together.

I loved the feeling of the building as soon as we got there. The studio was in an old building in downtown Tacoma that had been turned into lots of little shops. There was a candy store, a book store, and an antique shop just to name a few. I loved the community energy of the place and the feeling that this place was different, definitely not a mall or a Target.  The art teacher at Blue Octopus Gallery http://www.theblueoctopus.com/ had many inspiration pieces out for the students to copy. I spent awhile trying to decide what to copy. Then I felt a sudden energy and knew I wanted to create something of my own that mimicked the inner feeling of the moment. I have just recently moved into a new apartment and was still putting together my decorative scheme. I remembered a blue ceramic piece that was sitting in my living room. A bird. This was the perfect representation of who I was, especially in my mother’s eyes, and reflected the connection to nature I have always felt and wanted to bring into my home.  I felt this ceramic bird in my living room was symbolizing how I was feeling at this place in my life. Freedom. Liberty. Self-Reliance.

Painting with my mother allowed me to calm my restless wings for awhile. Ironically my mother chose to also paint a bird. A flamingo. A bird much more comfortable living in groups, surrounded by the safety and comfort in numbers. It was encouraging seeing her determination in painting the difficult aspects of her flamingo. Allowing her to give me tips and techniques was nourishing to our relationship. After the class, I felt closer with my mom. I felt fulfilled as a creator. I felt in-tune with that deep, down, inner part of myself that only truly comes out when in the deepest most meaningful experiences. I felt closer to learning how to be both independent and connected.


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