Finding Creativity in the Mundane

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We have a 100 year old project house in Nova Scotia. Now, I hate painting. I love the look of a freshly painted wall or trim but I don’t necessarily enjoy the execution. One painting project I was looking forward to, was the back door. Mostly because of the size of the project (small!). It’s a vintage dream: the side that is towards the outside has this gorgeous natural crackle from years of exposure to the elements and layers of paint. The brass door knob from years gone by would take a skeleton key if I had it; now it is secured with the modern day deadbolt. It was dingy white, and it screamed to be blue, to match our new roof. I could not wait to see the final product.

Although a roller would have been a lot faster, I opted for a brush. I’m not sure why, but soon I was enjoying the rhythmic back and forth motion watching the door slowly transform. I realized in that moment something that I had never done before: became present in this mundane task. Normally when I paint I’d let my mind wander & think about everything but, just trying to get through the chore. This time, I was aware of every stroke, every glop and drip, and the awareness that this door will never look “perfect” (brand new) ever again, no matter how much paint I applied. And yet, with every imperfection, the door is a true gem. Probably one of my favorite features of the house. Brand new, and perfect would look totally out of place in a house that has seen so much life in the past 100 years.

Painting the door that morning, gave my creativity a huge boost. Once done I immediately sat down at the sketch pad and to-do list. Problems were solved. Decisions made. New potential products were given its first one dimensional life on paper. I also realized something else. This door is delicious despite its imperfections. It is in many ways like handmade. The skill to create by hand will never be with machine precision but the slight imperfections are what truly make the piece vibrant, alive and soulful.

I hope you find much creative inspiration as you go about your day, and if the whim hits you to do something totally out of the ordinary, take the leap, regardless of your level of knowledge or skill. As the old saying goes, you never know unless you try! 😉


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