Monday, December 24, 2012

Do you wish you could paint?

Well, I've got news for you... you probably can!

I've always been creative: knitting, sewing, scrapbooking, calligraphy, all kinds of crafty things. But until a few years ago, I'd never picked up a paint brush other than the kind you'd use on a wall. I had absolutely no idea I could paint a picture using oil paints and canvas! I always wished that I could paint, but thought I didn't have talent.

 I mean... artists are born with talent, right? 

I thought anyone could learn to knit or sew or scrapbook, but oil painting... it was so beyond my abilities! Then a couple of things happened and I discovered that, while I'll never be a Monet or Renoir, painting is possible and it is so rewarding!

First, I happened upon an old oil painting in an antique shop that I wanted to buy ever so badly. I was so drawn to that painting, I even took photos of it.

But there was a problem... the 16x20 unframed painting was priced at $1,400! There was no way my husband was going to buy it. "You need to take up painting yourself," he said.

Not long after that, he managed to land me a spot in a painting class just up the road from our farm. Our portrait-artist/neighbor was out painting one Sunday afternoon, sitting on her mule. (OOPS! wrong mental picture... it was the Kawasaki kind!) Pa stopped to chat and told her I'd like to take a painting class. Soon, I was the only beginner in her class full of experienced artists, and they were all so wonderful, welcoming, helpful, and encouraging to me!

After she gave me a five-minute lesson on mixing paint, my teacher handed me an 8 by 10 canvas, a picture of a pear, and a piece of plain old carbon paper, saying "Trace this picture on the canvas. Then paint what you see. Forget it's a pear. If it's orange, paint it orange; if it's yellow, paint it yellow." Three hours later with a couple of finishing strokes by my teacher, this painting was complete. I was so excited, proud and HOOKED!

I've been painting for seven years now. Fortunately, my teacher was clever enough to make sure I was successful on that very first painting... smart lady! There have been many paintings since and I've struggled (cursed, cried, whined, and pulled my hair out!) on lots of them.

But my point is... anyone can paint! It may require a teacher to show you a new way of "seeing things" and to explain some basic principles of art. Then you'll need lots of patience and practice, practice, practice. If I can paint, so can you! If you've always wished you could paint, you CAN... don't be afraid to give it a try!