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Today my Mommy and I went for Paint Along. Basically, you pick a date and prototype off their calendar, show up, and then get step-by-step instructions on how to make a copy of said prototype. They provide you with the canvas, the brushes, and the paints. You bring your own booze.
Friends, I'm officially hooked.
For those of you who don't know, my mother is a super talented artist. Her medium is paint/collage on canvas, but she likes to venture into the world of ceramics, encaustics, and other artsy-fartsy-type thangs. Check out her website, Studio 63 Art, to see how wonderful and awesome she is!
Anyways. My mom is super talented and my whole life I've been physically incapable of producing anything with paint except for stick figures and swirls. Sometimes flowers, but those are rarely successful endeavors. So for me to create THAT thing above today was a HOLYSHIT moment. I actually had a premonition last night that I was going to get so frustrated with myself and my lack of paintability that I would hurl my canvas across the room and scream obscenities and embarrass the crap out of my mom and myself. NO SUCH LUCK. It was honestly the most zen two hours of my whole month - even more relaxing than the epic bubble bath I took a couple weeks ago.
We had a fantastic instructor, Marty, who took us through the process step-by-step, quite literally, at a fantastically calm pace. There was no criticism and no judgement. Just instruction and patience. Here's a photo of the process I went through:
I realized that when broken down into parts, into a few sections that could be tackled individually and layered upon, painting wasn't so scary. It's easy to look at the prototype and get overwhelmed and scream in your head OH FREAKING A HOW THE HELL AM I SUPPOSED TO MAKE SOMETHING LIKE THAT? But with the power of Pandora and some good old fashioned patience, I made it through the class and had a FANTASTIC time.
There's a lesson to be learned here: when you set your mind to COMPLETING something (even something that's been scaring the crap out of you since the second grade), the only thing that can stop you is yourself.
I know that I've said this a thousand times before in my blog, but it seems to be the one motto in my life that seems more and more true everyday. No matter how big a project I take on: whether it's redecorating my entire apartment, being a badass assistant/intern at work, or painting a peach blossom tree on canvas, I GOT THIS SHIT.
I've found that the key is always to take your big project and break it down into mini projects/tasks that are manageable and way less intimidating. Be patient with yourself and recognize that things may not turn out exactly how you envisioned them at the start. I'll be honest with you - the prototype for this peachy tree looks WAY different from what I actually made. And my mom's version of the tree also looked completely different from my version. But all the versions in that classroom were beautiful and seemed to match the personalities of their respective creators. It was fun to watch how we all started off with blank canvases turned to blue skies that looked relatively the same, but by the end we all had completely different trees.
It's important to recognize that during any process or project, your personality, thoughts, opinions, judgement, decisions, and ever-changing perspectives are going to mold and shape the outcome. It's important to recognize that variety and deviation are things to be cherished and appreciated, not scorned and spit upon.
I didn't expect myself to learn so much in two short hours, but I can honestly say that Paint Along was one of my most favorite experiences so far this year and I highly recommend it to anyone and everyone - whether you're a seasoned artist (like my mom) or a newb (like me) or someone in between. It's a chance to do something relaxing for your soul and see how other people feed their souls in the same (but different) way.
I will definitely be going back again sometime very soon for another Paint Along session. Who's coming with me?
Meditating with my new painting, xx Nikbear