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.