"After the Storm," Brad Blackman, 2017. Acrylic on canvas, 8×8 inches.

How something gross became a metaphor for finding peace

A couple of years ago, I was cleaning the tub, and the inspiration for this piece came to me.

Yes, the tub.

I know. It’s gross. I had to clean out some hair that had accumulated around the drain stopper in our bathtub. The end of the stopper was discolored from some harmless oxidization, and it created an interesting brown and turquoise pattern.

I wanted to replicate that pattern in brighter colors, so I swapped the brown for orange and shifted the turquoise to blue.

As usual, the painting took on a life of its own

Toward the end of painting this, the canvas started looking like a landscape. I flipped it upside-down to find earth and sky.

For some reason, this horizon motif keeps turning up in nearly every painting I do these days. I think there is something powerful and primal about the way the human eye looks for horizons.

I have to trust the process. “Trust the Soup,” as Steven Pressfield says in Do the Work.

The name

I asked my wife what I should call this, and she gave it the name “After the Storm.” I think it underscores a deep desire to move on past the current storms of life and get to the next stage that will hopefully be more peaceful.

And peace is what I pray for. Not so much a lack of storms, but the ability to remain at peace in the middle of the storm. The calm is the reward.

"After the Storm," Brad Blackman, 2017. Acrylic on canvas, 8×8 inches. “After the Storm,” 2017. Acrylic on canvas, 8×8 inches.

If you’re interested in purchasing this painting, please visit the page for it in my shop.