© 2017 Greater Vancouver Families

Anna

migraines, paint & gifts to strangers

I’ve never been much of a painter. So it was to my surprise, as I’ve fought with chronic migraines these past years, that I found I could sink myself into painting and be properly distracted for a few hours at a time. Because of this I painted often, using a small watercolour palette and a simple approach. As I experimented more with my paintings, I wondered what to do with them.

Last summer as I hiked and walked my way through the warmer months, I often found myself pulling out painting supplies in a forest, on a hilltop, or next to a riverbed. I liked mixing art and nature. I also wanted the easy freedom to create without the pressure to constantly evolve. So I kept painting with no goal in mind other than to leave my headaches behind for a few hours at a time. That meant I was accumulating rather a lot of paintings and didn’t know what to do with them.

It was an artist friend who gave me the fun idea of leaving them behind for others to find. One day she left one of her paintings in the city and gave her friends a few hints where to find it. I loved the idea and, kindly, she was happy to share the idea with me.

I was particularly interested in having strangers find my paintings, often out on the hiking trails where I painted them. I liked the idea of getting to connect, however briefly, with someone entirely outside of my sphere, and perhaps brighten their day a little bit. I liked that the value of my work was entirely up to each passerby. Those who weren’t interested could simply walk by, and those who found it interesting could take it home to keep. I would leave my contact information in case anyone wanted to tell me the story of how they found it. For the most part I have no idea where they’ve ended up, though I’ve received the occasional (very sweet) email from finders. Either way, the odd time I’ve returned an hour or two later the paintings have always been gone, so I know they’re finding their way home one way or another.