I was particularly out of sorts yesterday.  Nothing was working. The words were not coming. The weather is awful. The wolf is at the door.  I slumped and grumbled through my day.

One of my tasks yesterday was to create a poster for my oldest's swim banquet, and I was struggling with both the details of what to put on it and the cosmic force that encourages mothers to create work for themselves for children who care nothing about things like swim posters. (Maybe girls do.  Maybe some eighteen-year-old boys do.  But I doubt it.)

After loads of time, more than I devoted to work certainly, sorting pictures both in boxes and on my desktop, I uploaded and printed and was ready to paste.  My large, white poster board mocked me.  "I dare you," it said, "to leave me white.  In fact, I double-dog dare you." I could not, of course.  I went out to look for wrapping paper that I could cut to fit, but was dissatisfied with either color or pattern.  I came home surly and empty handed.

Looking down at a picture of my man-child standing on the side of the shallow end of the pool when he was two, his suit and hair dry, the shimmer of the water in the background looked so inviting. I pushed back my chair and opened the craft cabinet (which my boys call the "crap cabinet") and pulled out my watercolors.  In no time the poster and I were better.  Paint, no surprise, was the answer.

While I paint on paper rarely, I paint on walls often. It's difficult for me to keep my brushes from it.  I'm midway through a project in my dining room (dining rooms being great spots for a little extra oomph) that is, again, white on a colored ground; for the last few weeks I've been creatively stalled. The chalk outlines call out to me, but I walk by pretending that I don't see them.  Spaces Kansas City's 10th anniversary issue features a "celebration" on its cover.  The table is beautifully styled, but this week I emailed my editor, "Whose house is that? And who is the artist?" It's a mural that would delight as much at breakfast as New Year's Eve.  It inspired me, like the shimmer of the water in that photograph, to pick up my brushes again to sweep away the gloom of winter.

Mural by Tim Northcutt, T.J. Hawk's Painting Plus.  If you'd like contact information, please email me directly.