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A Date with a Painting

30 Mar

So last week my husband surprised me with a date I never would have guessed of him – an artist date of sorts – an reservation over at Painting with a Twist – a studio where you come for a couple of hours, wine is offered, and the participants are shown how to paint the painting of the night.

I had no idea what to expect initially. We arrived and were confronted first with a blank canvas – a sight a bit daunting. What made this even more interesting was the long lines of canvases that went down the room – in all there was room for (and in actuality) at least 30 painters to work.

The Blank Canvas

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My own particular canvas felt very white. And the paints they gave me didn’t inspire a lot of confidence. This much paint to cover the whole thing? Well thank goodness it’s not like painting a house….right?

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Only I was wrong and immediately they set us to cover the entire canvas with background so we could eventually paint a tree and blossoms on the foreground. I dabbed a bit and felt lost. Chris (painting on the right) seemed to be having about as much luck as me. I don’t know if we were lacking inspiration or talent or maybe just were trying too hard to follow directions…? Either way at this point I was wondering why I’d even agreed to come.


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After a bit (and let’s face it, I wandered around the room to get more ideas…) I smeared some darker colors on the canvas and thought that while it didn’t look very good at this point, at least I was trying…this was going to become something? Really?

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Then we started with our branches. I think I should have stopped here. I had even the instructor stop and tell me that this was amazing. Several compliments and my head was swelling…I could do this after all. Even Chris started feeling more confident!

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Then the flowers came…and I lost it. That impact, that stark Legend of Sleepy Hollow thing I had going became…soft? I’m not sure I’m happy with the finished product.

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Well, it was fan. It’s really a unique kind of date and one that actually taught me something about art. Mostly that it’s a lot harder than I thought to dab paint on a canvas and come away with anything worthwhile.

And that artists are extremely critical of their own work.

Yeah, I need to work on it. I like it. Kinda. It might be fun to try this again someday.

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Back to….work?

24 Jan

If  you know me, then you know there is only so long I can sit around before I get antsy and have to start poking at things again. Let’s face it, I still am plagued with those thoughts of “Oooh…what if I just opened this file…tweaked this image…moved this here…”

What can I say, I like doing design work.

So this morning I mustered up a bit of energy (helped by good weather, as fibro and weather shift have been wreaking all kinds of havoc lately) and got to work on one of the projects for Written World Communications again.

Love Poured Out

“Love Poured Out” is a gift book – poetry and photographs – that we’ve been spending some time putting together. The poetry is by the talented and amazing Dee Alcorn. The photographs range a bit but we’re using quite a few from the award winning Lynda K. Arndt so it’s all good. It’s a beautiful and even restful project to work on.

My goal was to spend half an hour at work, and then call it a day. It’s so HARD when I think how I used to put in 12 hour workdays (sometimes even 14 or 15 hour workdays) to be reduced to so little. I love my work, and this is a pleasure. But it’s also tiring. Still, my goal of half an hour turned into 45 minutes once I settled in and starting pairing images and poems and getting everything all pretty on the pages.

But by the time 45 minutes had passed, my body was screaming and letting me know that I was on hiatus for a reason. Still the accomplishment of 16 pages feels very good to me, and I look forward to finishing the book and seeing it in print.

Two pages from "Love Poured Out"

I think I will definitely try for half an hour of work the next time I’m having a good day. But this time I’m going to STICK to half an hour – using my timer to break it into two 15 minute increments.

This is frustrating to me. I want to just get up in the morning, get dressed, and go to work for the day like I used to. I HATE that I’m this weak and am still so sick. On the other hand I have to remain hopeful. Two weeks ago I could not have worked for 45 minutes on this project.

So there’s progress. And where there’s progress there’s room for hope.

What accomplishment (no matter how small you might think it is) can we celebrate with you today?