Just a couple of weeks ago, I woke up and noticed it was still dark out. I immediately told myself to go back to sleep, thinking that it was three in the morning. As I rested my head on my pillow to try and fall back asleep, I began to hear my family’s voices making their way from the living room. Why is everyone awake at three in the morning? At the very thought, I checked my phone for the time and noticed it read 9:30 am. Half asleep and not thinking straight, I took a moment to try and address my confusion. When this did not work out, I turned on my nightstand lamp to illuminate the darkness in my room.
As I walked to the other end of my house, I noticed that the voices belonged to my dad and older brother who were staring out the window having a conversation. What the hell is going on? My loud, creaky footsteps on the hardwood floor interrupted their conversation as I entered the room. When their heads turned towards me, they examined the clueless expression I felt on my face with eyes that waited for me to say something. When I didn’t, they asked if I had looked outside. Confused and still very much asleep, I walked closer to the window and insecurely took a peek outside. I pinched myself when I saw a pumpkin-orange colored sky, trying to get myself out of the strange dream I knew I was having.
But It wasn’t a dream. I continued attempting to rub reality back into my eyes as I glimpsed outside a few more times to check if It was true.There’s really no way. Could I have listened to Nat King Cole’s “Orange Colored Sky” so many times that it was making me see things? I thought. Or maybe I was just way too excited for Halloween.
Yes, here in California, we woke to a sun that did not shine. It was almost pitch black other than the little bit of light reflecting from the orange sky. Through 9 a.m, 12 p.m, 5 p.m and then nighttime, I waited for the sky to return to normal, but it stayed the same. The more I thought about it, the more questions popped into my head. My brother addressed them, telling me that this was all due to climate change and due to the wildfires that the heat had caused. Truthfully, hearing everything that he had to say made me feel scared. Scared at the realization that at the rate we’re going, the sun could one day decide to never shine again. I became sad at the thought that the world as I knew it and loved, might one day never be. With everything that’s been happening this year, this was just another one of those moments. The pandemic, climate change, BLM movement, hearing everyone’s circumstances in these situations as well as experiencing my very own--it gets hard. These things have become heavy concepts to carry over my shoulders and I am sick of the crazy downward spiral of events that we have all had to unfortunately face.
Later that day when I failed to get these thoughts out of my head, I decided to turn on my lamp and paint. As I did, I fell so deep into these thoughts and painted them away one swoosh after the next. I fell into this sort of daze I like to refer to as the zone. The zone occurs after you have felt that urge to paint. After you have picked the tune that you want to play in the background and let it drown out the white noise around you. You have by now torn out a piece of wax paper and blotched it with different hues of paint. You’ve placed a jar of water to its side as well as a couple of paint brushes that are anxiously awaiting to be sunk into the embrace of each pigment.
Soon after you’ve started painting, you find yourself in this beautiful, peaceful place. It's kind of like feeling yourself falling into a deep sleep, like getting hypnotized. At this moment, that huge ball of thoughts, worries and stress that has been building up in your head--they have all turned quiet and for the time being, gone away. It’s so quiet that you can't even hear the song that is playing anymore. Nothing else in the world matters other than getting that perfect smooth edge, that perfect lily in a garden of dozens. When you snap back out of the zone you can hardly recall if you were even breathing and you highly question your existence during those few hours. You know you’ve been in the zone when you wish you could have been in there forever.
This is my absolute favorite part about art. As an artist, I feel so incredibly blessed to have this opportunity to teleport into this amazing, worryfree place. It’s almost like a magic door whose knob I can turn whenever I desire. This is an escape I know we could all use once in a while. I walk through it all the time and am thrilled to be taking advantage of it. I am sure that you, my fellow artists are taking advantage of it as well.