Monday, October 5, 2015

A Different Challenge

Last Sunday, I went to Painting With a Twist, which is a place where you can paint a picture, with guidance, for a small fee.  The twist part comes from the party atmosphere - you can bring wine or whatever you want to drink, along with snacks - their goal is for patrons to have fun while being creative.  CC and Loretta wanted to do this, so I tagged along, all the while knowing that I was not going to turn out any masterpiece; the fine art gene that made both my grandmother and mother such wonderful artists bypassed me completely.  I came to terms with that a long time ago...but I still wanted to paint a pretty picture.

We went to an open studio class, where you could choose any painting that they offered (they have THOUSANDS - it was overwhelming, so I narrowed my search options to ocean, which brought it down to just a couple hundred).  I picked a seashell painting, and I will say, the teachers there did warn me that this one was not quite for beginners, but they assured me that I'd be fine with it, so I went ahead with this choice.  Looking back, I can see that had I picked something with more straight lines that definitely would have been easier, but hey, why do that?

Getting started - for me, this is where my painting peaked.  No, not quite the blank canvas, but I painted the sand background using three colors and I was really pleased with how it turned out. 
Blank canvas, palatte of paint - what could possibly go wrong?
CC and Loretta - aren't they cute?!

I had my cell phone out, intending to take pictures along the way to document the process, but I got so involved with painting that I ended up taking very few.  Here's one of our teacher chalking on the outlines of the shells for me:
You can see the inspiration painting on table.  After I did my background, I was a little paralyzed with where to start on the shells, so I'm glad the teacher offered to help with the chalking.
CC channeling her inner Van Gogh?
They were doing a side-by-side painting, so their circles needed to match up.

As I began painting my shells, I realized that this was more difficult than I anticipated.  Most of them weren't one flat color, even before shading, so I was playing with mixing up colors, and even with the chalk outlines, I wasn't having the greatest time making shapes...so of course I'd try to correct them, which would just make the shell bigger.  I finally figured that I could "fix" that when I did the outlines/outer shading, so I managed to stop trying to get the perfect shape (Ooh, metaphor for weight loss?  Conceal some figure flaws with clothing??). 
Midway through, still optimistic that shading was going to bring it all together.

At one point, I looked at my painting and saw a chili pepper, a croissant, and a fish - and yes, they were all supposed to be shells!  Shading.  Lots of shading, right?  Well, sort of.  As our class progressed, I knew I wasn't going to end up with a masterpiece, but I really enjoyed the process.  I got into it more than I thought I would, and I didn't go down that "I suck, I can't paint, why am I bothering" path that has plagued me throughout other artistic attempts throughout my life.
The finished painting.  I sent this shot to a friend, who responded back "why is there an acorn on the beach?" - and of course, now I see an acorn in addition to the chili pepper, croissant, and fish.  SHELLS, people...they are all shells!
CC and Loretta's painting came out great.  I heard later that CC's diploma was moved in order to hang their artwork, which made me laugh...a heartfelt painting beat out a Master's degree!
WE. ARE. ARTISTS.

I know this post came off as pretty lighthearted, but the experience has stayed with me because for once, I didn't get irritated at myself over my lack of ability and go all scribblescrabble on the painting.  I don't know if it's a combination of maturity (which is always up for discussion), or the fact that over the last several years I've challenged myself to do things that I am not particularly good at, like an obstacle race, or running (I'm not good at it, but I am persistent), or heck, even changing my lifestyle when it comes to diet and exercise.  All I know is that I sure had a different attitude while working on my painting and it made for a really enjoyable afternoon spent with friends.

31 comments:

  1. What a fun thing to do with your friends. I love it how you try new things everytime over the years that I have known you. You have definitely grown.

    As for the painting: I love it. You should have gone with me because when we would have hold our work next to each other, yours would definitely have been the masterpiece!
    I should keep the painting and hang it in your office.

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    1. Can you believe I still haven't hung the painting?

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  2. I admire your bravery to step out of your comfort zone and
    try painting. I like your picture and I really like your attitude.

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  3. I have been wanting to do one of these classes because I am no artist either. I think yours looks very good and there is that satisfaction of knowing that you created this.

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    1. You should do a class - I bet you're more of an artist than you realize.

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  4. I honestly believe that as we age we realize that the experience is so much more important than perfection. Being willing to put yourself "out there" more and really have no regrets is a sign of maturing and realizing that life is too short to miss out on amazing experiences.

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    1. You said it much better than I, but yes, exactly. :)

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  5. Oh I love these! Around here they are called Cocktails and Colors :) I have never done one but they sure do look like fun! Yours turned out just beautiful! Go you for challenging yourself :)

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    1. I bet you and your sister would have a blast doing something like this!

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  6. This is my first time to your blog and I must say I love the look of it. It's colorful and clean. I've always wanted to do the painting class. We had a studio here, but I think it's closed now. I like your shells. And, your weight loss journey is very inspiring.

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  7. We just had a place like that open up not too far from me - I think Hannah and I could have fun at that!

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    1. You and Hannah definitely should give this a try!

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  8. I love this post! !!!! You had fun. You didn't beat yourself up when things didn't go as planned (as the shells grew) and you were proud of your success in finishing the project! Sounds like a perfect post (and yes.....very metaphorical for weight loss!)

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  9. I've done this twice. And it's harder than it looks.

    Like running, I thought I could do better and was critical of my results.

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    1. At least I went into it knowing it was going to be a challenge...but it was even harder than I thought!

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    2. Yours is good. I hid both of mine.

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    3. Mine looks better in photographs than in real life...just sayin' :)

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  10. I love your shells! I would be so happy if my first painting came out that good. And I sure can relate to how you described the experience. Idea seems simple, but then--how are you supposed to implement it? You did really great, and now for the first time--are CC and Loretta mother and daughter, or sisters? You probably told us a long time ago, but I have no memory of that.

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    1. CC and Loretta are married. There's not that much of an age difference between them; CC just looks crazy young...like, she was invited to join a Girl Scouts troop a couple of months ago!!! I swear, she has an oil painting aging somewhere in her attic. ;)

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  11. I love your shells and the jalepeno pepper! :-D A friend and I go to these places quite often. The funny thing is - everyone feels the same way about their painting and almost all of them are so much better than they think. Kind of a weight loss metaphor too, I guess, since we generally are much harder on ourselves about our looks than the rest of the world really judges us!

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    1. It's good to hear that I'm not alone with how I felt about my painting. And you are so right about judging ourselves with weight loss...I remember feeling so fat and flabby and people were telling me how good I was looking. It didn't add up.

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  12. I also see a cinnabun! Just kidding!!! Your painting is great. I love the fact that you can choose what you want to paint. We have those paint and wine nights around here but everyone has to paint the same thing and i'm sure it would be something I wouldn't want to hang in my house..lol

    Was CeeCee and Loretta's painting one canvas or two canvases put together?

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    1. Dangit, now I see a Cinnabon, too! CC and Loretta's painting was two canvases, and they hung them together.

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  13. Good for you for not giving up and getting super frustrated! I've done these classes twice (where we all painted the same thing) and been so nervous about it, because the artistic gene skipped me as well and I just don't enjoy it. To get in to it and be proud of your outcome is great!

    (Interestingly, I didn't want to knit, since I am not crafty/not an artist... but that is a type of art, right? We all just have to find what works for us, hee hee.)

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  14. You did so great, way to keep at it! I think an artist hides in all of us. May God richly bless you!

    http://runningsurvivor.blogspot.com/2015/10/good-morning-oh-how-i-have-missed.html

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  15. The wine and paint thing terrifies me and I've turned down the opportunity to go a few times. That being said, your shell painting is awesome. You did a good job and it is such a neat, neutral "topic" that I would even hang it up in my home. (I can't say that for my friend's wine paintings!)

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