Most people don’t grow up. Most people age. They find parking spaces, honor their credit cards, get married, have children, and call that maturity. What that is, is aging. ― Maya Angelou
Maybe some people have a knee jerk reaction to the term “grow up.” Perhaps it’s more of a case of growing into yourself. Little girls like to play dress up with mommy’s clothes. Boys like to do it too, I know because I have brothers. Now they didn’t dress in my mother’s clothes, but we had a lot of fun coming up with costumes.
When we get older we are told to put away childish things. What I want to know is…who defines childish things? I put away painting and creativity for 50 years because I bought into the lie. You mess around with finger paints, water colors, crayons, but then you grow up. Other activities are deemed more important. Making a living in a mind numbing horrible job. Pay the rent, raise the kids, wash the clothes, feed the starving hordes, buy a house, buy a car, work for a charity in your “free time” because you are supposed to give back, never mind that you giving to someone else’s idea of what is important.
I’ve been reading this book called the Artist Way, by Julia Cameron. I read it years ago, but put it away. The author points out in excruciating detail all these fallacies when it comes to creativity. She suggests treating your inner artist as a child who wants to come out and play. If we put it off this child, just like a physical child, will have a tantrum. It manifests as stress, boredom, ennui, and feeling like something is missing in your life.
To the left here is my very first every oil painting so don’t laugh! I struggled with it and finally declared it finished because any additional paint I added just seemed to make it more blurred and muddy. I learned a lot about mixing and blending colors from it.
Any way back to the Artist Way, Cameron states that we shoot ourselves in the foot when we label ourselves as lazy when we fail to let go and start creating. What it really going on is fear with a capital F. There is a huge difference there.
This rang true for me and I realized that I’d been doing it for 50 years. I’ve always loved to write so the first step I took to get away from the fear was to start a blog. And let me tell you, I almost had a stroke the first time I pushed the “publish” button. And over the past couple of years I’ve been through a gamut of emotions. But, I gave myself permission write about what I wanted to write about. Then I had to give myself permission to not write when I didn’t want to or felt I had nothing to say that I wanted bared to public scrutiny.
The last week or so writing fell by the wayside because I’ve been caught up in painting. The creative part of my brain is expressing itself in colors, textures and shapes instead of written words. It’s an interesting state of mind. I get so caught up in it that words seem foreign. Now that I’m back to painting with words, they seem to come out a bit different than before. I’m loving it and I’m looking forward to seeing where it takes me.
So I Went to my first art class ever yesterday. (Excluding kindergarten and inpatient treatment activity) It was loads of fun and more than a little humbling. I’ve never used oil paints except for house painting and tend to shy away from them because the house paint is messy and smelly. Also I found out that I really am starting at square one and don’t know a thing about it. It took a good ten minutes to decide whether I wanted the canvas to be landscape or portrait oriented. Then it occurred to me that I had not chosen a subject matter yet.
I was pleasantly surprised that the water-soluble paints are just that, water-soluble, meaning I can wash it right off with soap and water, and they don’t smell bad. A good thing because by the end of the class I had paint up to my elbows and on my face.
I learned how to do a wash, which is just creating a backdrop for the painting. A lot easier than it looks. I was technically painting during the class, I guess. But, mostly I was just trying to get a feel on how to use the paints. Too much turpentine and the paint gets soupy, not enough and it’s like trying to paint with cold cream cheese. The instructor gave me mercy compliments I’m sure. “oh, that’s beautiful, you’re doing great.” I thought to myself “yeah right, I bet you say that to all your newbies.” And a good thing she did too, because I needed encouragement, big time.
The 2 hours flew by and I stood back and looked at my effort so far. Then I cracked up laughing. It looked like I was holding the paint brush with my elbows or maybe standing with my back to the canvas, looking over my shoulder and holding the paintbrush with my toes. If I had been wearing a side arm I would have shot it dead, or chucked it in a bonfire. But you have to start at the beginning, I guess.
I found it interesting to note that the creativity section of my brain felt almost sprained or something. I was definitely in a different and extremely contemplative frame of mine. One the way home someone behind me honked and I looked at the speedometer and realized that I was floating along at 20 miles an hour in a 40 mile per hour zone. I usually zip along at or slightly above the speed limit. So anyway, next week I will go back and try again. I signed up for 10 classes and I’m going to need everyone them.
This picture is my rendition of Van Gogh’s The Almond Blossoms. It’s not quite finished; I still have to paint in some of the blossoms because the canvas is showing though.
Today I’m going to engage in what crafters refer to as S.E.X. Woo hoo! What it stands for is Stash EXpedition. I’ve finally narrowed down an art class that I’m going to enroll in. It feels like being back in the first grade. I have this list of paint brushes, paint colors, canvas, etc. so a shopping I will go. 🙂 One thing I learned while scrutinizing this supply list and my current collection of ratty paint brushes this morning is that the sizes are not standardized. One brand of size 8 brush is a different size than an 8 of another brand, for example.
Shame on them, I say. Why does it have to be so complicated? Now with knitting needles and crochet hooks the sizes are standard across brands, letters for hooks, and numbers for needles. What I will have to do is go in the art supply store, throw myself on their mercy and admit that I don’t know a thing about this stuff. All my previous attempts at art work I did on my own with whatever I could scrabble together.
So I’m really excited about this art class. It’s something I’ve wanted to do all my life, but just never got around to it. I know I have some talent at least because when I was in school, teachers and other students would approach me to make posters for them and I painted a few back drops for school plays.
But this skill has been lying dormant for 58 years. Hmm, I think it’s 58…I’ll have to ask the Hubman because I never can remember how old I am. I’ve always had a tendency to live life in the eternal now. Dates, ages, measurements and all kinds of numbery things just don’t compute. And to think my major in college was accounting. I understood the theory but the numbers gave me a headache. No wonder I dropped out. That’s what happens when you major in something that other people are telling you should do, instead of what speaks to your heart.
My sweetie pie of a girlfriend arranged an evening at the Painting With a Twist shop as belated birthday present. I never heard of it before she suggested it. I’m so glad she did. We had soooo much fun.
Painting With a Twist is a venue that offers you an evening of guided painting. They provide the canvas, paint brushes, paint, etc. and you bring wine and cheese or whatever snicky snacks you prefer. The session is arranged by going online to their website and choosing a picture. Then you sign up for the date that instructions for the picture if offered.
The instructor takes about 15 people through a 2 hour guided tour of how to paint a picture. There are times when you take a break to let your painting dry a little between layers, so we all wandered around with our wine comparing paintings and talking with the other people in the shop.
I’ve dabbled in painting but never had any formal training, so I learned a lot just from that one sitting. I’m hooked and fully intend to make a habit of doing this. We had a blast.