by Martha Slavin
A good friend and I sit in the shade of her backyard, which blooms with flowers, fruit, and her mosaics on the fences. Color is everywhere: the clay fish in the simple bubbling fountain, the shards of glass pushed between the stepping-stones of the paths that wander through her yard, the bright red apples and deep purple plums hanging in the trees, and the ceramic frogs and lizards near her hammock. My friend, a painter, is most at home in Monet's garden in Giverny in France, and she brought the flood of color of that garden to her backyard.
Her two dogs push toys at us, waiting for a foot to kick the toy far enough for them to scamper after. When we don't respond, they explore the garden. Piper, a Jack Russell terrier, brings back a green apple with teeth marks on it. She hopes this offering will interest us.
We set out watercolors and paper on the table and pursue "Painting, No Judgment," as my friend calls it. We relax into our efforts. She quickly splashes reds and magentas on her page while I lightly wash my paper with the soft colors of succulents.
When we've had enough, we get up, stretch, and walk around the table. I say, "I started to put too much dark...."
She calls, "Shush, no judgment," and whispers, "Oh" and "Ahh," as she walks around the table (though that is a judgment too).
"Shall we start writing now?" I ask, feeling free of any negative thoughts and open to what follows "Painting, No Judgment."
Martha Slavin is an artist and writer. Her blog, Postcards in the Air, can be found each Friday at www.marthaslavin.blogspot.com She also writes poetry, memoir pieces, and essays. She creates handmade books, works in mixed media, watercolor, and does letterpress. She lives with her husband and two cats in California.