We Get to Choose – #JusJoJan 2023

Welcome to day twenty-three of Just Jot It January for 2023. Today’s word is paintbrush.

Paintbrushes filled with paint
Image by Vicki Hamilton from Pixabay

The easiest way to keep a paintbrush clean is to never use it. But painting is messy and the cleanup takes some work.

I feel that way about life sometimes. If we take no risks, then we make no mistakes.  We could stay inside and never interact with anyone else, but a clean and sterile life is lonely and cold, I think.

The most challenging step in painting a masterpiece is that first stroke with the brush. It is where you set your intention. From that point on you no longer have a stark white canvas. It has been altered. The paintbrush gets messy.

When I think back on the mistakes and missteps I have made along the way I also try to imagine how things would have gone if I had not taken that step. But life, like art, is all about balance and perspective. You also must look at the number of steps that took you exactly where you wanted to go.

People, like paintbrushes, need care. Sometimes we do not know how to care for ourselves, and how to correct our mistakes and clean up our messes. The sooner you do the work, the easier the process.

Asking for help is important, too. Sometimes we humans just can’t figure it out on our own. We let the problem overwhelm us.

I enrolled in an oil painting class many years ago. The last ten minutes of the class were set aside for cleanup. Cleanup was necessary as soon as possible after our work for the day was finished. One of the students asked the teacher “How do you get your brushes so clean?”

Without hesitation, the instructor shared her secret. A simple bar of soap sold at the dollar store would clean our brushes to perfection without using chemicals. All we had to do was ask for help. She then held up three brushes.

The first brush had never been used and was still a little stiff. The second was clean — pristine and soft, and had been used to paint over fifty canvases. The third was hard and rigid, packed with dried paint lacking care and now unusable.

We get to choose which brush we want to be when we paint the canvas that is our life. I like my life full of color and a little messy along the way, but I try to always paint with a clean soft brush.

Which will you choose?

Written as part of Linda Hill’s JusJoJan.

Prompt word today (paintbrush) submitted by Paula from Light Motifs II.