A few friends from my community group at church gathered tonight in the garage of my art-teacher friend, Becca, to have a girls’ night out. Becca led us through creating a landscape painting, and it was intriguing to see how each of our paintings turned out so differently. I fully braced myself to be ready to throw the painting in the trash when I got home because I really struggle with drawing or painting. Stick figures stretch my skills. I’m not claiming my painting is a masterpiece, but it definitely exceeded my expectations. Of course, it also was nice to be doing something creative again.
Here are few process shots.
This one is the foundation. I didn’t quite know what I was going to do, but I accidentally made a spot in the sky too dark and gloomy, and then somehow it morphed into a tree and then I just went with it.
Then came my river. I was really digging it and then Becca pointed out the rivers don’t really ripple like that between the banks. I sort of tried to fix it, but my hands didn’t want to do what she was telling me to do. Plus, I was kinda had a painting crush on my ripples even if they defied nature. She said I should imagine what it would be like to tube down that river. It would be pretty turbulent, I’ll admit. I chalked up the desire to paint the ripples that way to the fact that in less than two weeks, I’m going rafting with Mark. He’s super excited, and I’m pretty nervous. Maybe my sub-conscious is coming out in my painting…
My friend Danielle also pointed out to me that my resistance to changing my painting should give me greater empathy with students when I’m tutoring them in writing and they really don’t want to change a paragraph that I think really needs to be axed. Sometimes it’s good to see life through a new lens.
Then, the painting hit a point where it seemed a little flat, and I could feel my creative energies flagging, so I ate a piece of peanut butter Boston cream cake. What in life isn’t improved with a little chocolate and peanut butter?
With my attention span and creative energies renewed, I went back to painting. Becca helped me fix where I had taken the advice to add the sun to my painting
a little way too literally. She showed me how to shade my tree trunk, helped me add a branch, and then suggested adding a swing. I’m glad she suggested it because I wasn’t liking the big open span of blue until I added that. I’m drawn to landscapes that make me want to be inside them, and I would love to find a big tree next to a river. Mmm…I could swing all day with a nice book and a gentle breeze.
And, here’s the finished picture. I sliced off just a tiny bit of the right side, so I’m missing a tree trunk, I actually like it better with that tree cropped out like it is two photos above. Maybe I should make myself a cropped limited edition print. Wouldn’t it be nice if canvas could be edited like photography?
And, if anyone happens to be in the Lancaster, Pa, area, you should know that Becca is hosting a mother/daughter painting class at the end of July. You can check it out at her website if you’re interested. If she can get me from a stick figure to a painting in a couple hours, you know she’s got to be a good art teacher.