Brushing Up

During last week’s visit to North Carolina, Iris (my sister), suggested participating in a “ladies night out” session with an artist friend of hers. Tracey, the artist, has a fun concept. All one has to do is show up and she provides everything needed to create a piece of art. I did question Iris if one needed ANY talent to attend one of these workshops. I was assured that these sessions were for all skill levels. After two relaxing hours, a participant will have a painting she created with her own hand to bring home.

This is what we aspired to create.

Iris packed wine, cheese and crackers. She was making sure that we got maximum fun out this event. When we arrived, white canvases were set up on easels, brushes ready to be taken in hand and smocks were sitting on our stools. Without touching anything I felt like a real artist.

Tracey began the class by posting an example of what we would be painting. We were told that “no two would look the same.” Dusk is my favorite time of day, so I was really excited to get to create such a peaceful scene. Paints were passed out – now we were cooking with gas! Tracey showed us how to put a light brown “wash” on the canvas so there wouldn’t be any white spots showing through. So far, so good, no challenges there!

Then we were encouraged to be creative by using our reds, yellows and blues to make the background. Ack – creativity – this looked like a prime place to mess up. Oh well, I forged on. We were then instructed to make a sun. We were to take a smidgen of bright yellow paint and make a “not perfect” teeny circle, working in some orange around it. It looked so incredibly simple during the demo. However, I managed to make a flaming astroid hurtling toward Earth. Of course, the more I tried to fix it, the angrier and closer to impact it became.

I ended up with a scary apocalyptic piece. I did get lots of compliments on the orange paint in the left corner


Our next task was to paint clouds. Now to be honest, I have been on this earth for 55+ years. I have seen every variety of cloud there is. I thought this task would be a snap. Somehow what came off my brush looked more like alien warships flying in formation over the skies.

We were told to take our black paint and fill in the silhouette of the foreground. We were strongly encouraged to resist the urge to make the ground flat. Following instructions, I ended up with some serious hills that would break the most hardy hiker’s ankle. Next came the trees with their branches. Everyone else seemed to be able to paint really strong branches. My trees are going to topple from the wind of one of those warships cruising overhead.

Our next instruction was to create blades of grass to give the hills “texture.” I was sitting back, finally happy that I could paint grass right when Tracey came by. As she took my paint brush she commented, “Oh your grass is too even, let me help you.”  Instead of grass, I was left with straggly weeds. As she returned the brush, I said “Hey, I just finished mowing that field!” 

On my own, I decided to add some fir trees in the distance. After all, there needs to be a place to take shelter in when the fireball finally impacts with Earth.

In spite of my shortcomings as an artist, I had a great time. Today is a good day!

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2 Responses to Brushing Up

  1. Jason says:

    “Ladies night out” – for a second I thought that this blog was about to lose its “G” rating. For the record, you share your notions of apocalyptia with the Care Bears; this is more akin to “Forest of Feelings” or “CareAlot” than it is “Seven screaming heads of the Whoring Beast of Babylon” – unless you consider “Bambi” to be the irradiated result of Western Geopolitics. Granted, in that context, it makes more sense that Bambi’s mom got shot.

  2. Melissa says:

    How funny! Just explain that alcohol was involved and everyone will be impressed that they recognize trees at all! You’re more brave than me. So great is my fear of the blank canvas that I find myself entertaining guests at the paint-some-pottery place with the children. I did a dog bowl that wasn’t fit for the dog. That’s pretty bad. Not that I’m an expert, but I do appreciate that splash of orange you used. Is it bad that it makes me wonder what’s on fire in the distance? Ha! Hope you had a great Thanksgiving. Melissa

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