I painted today. I thought it might be important in this season to practice connecting to God with a form of creativity. Here’s the thing, I am not an artist. I’m not being hard on myself or arbitrarily self-deprecating, I just know what I am and what I am not, and I am not an artist. If someone asked me to replicate, say an image of someone’s face, I could spend the rest of my life doing it and it would still be unrecognizable to the original. I avoided visual art classes like the plague when I was growing up because of this very fact.
My friend Sarah is a painter. You know how there are people that are good at art and then there are artists, people whose whole demeanor and way of thinking is connected to their creative nature? Sarah is the artist. She does this creativity workshop and I went one time to support her, not because I wanted to paint around a table with a bunch of women who are inclined towards visual expression, but because I’m a good friend. I loved her whole talk, it was wildly inspiring and I was really enjoying myself, until she made me paint.
I don’t think there has ever been a worse creation then what I made that day. Sarah had all this mixed medium stuff to work with, so I decided the less canvas to cover the better, so I cut out this huge photo from a magazine and figured I would just paint around it. Then I started adding red and was going to do a gradient so I added deeper red at the edges but it got all smudgy then really dark then it was just black grossness painted all over this gigantic magazine cut out. It was not cool, it was worse than what you’re imagining. I felt bad for Sarah because she is always so encouraging and I’m sure she was shocked to see how bad I actually was. My friend Heather was next to me said she wasn’t good at art and then went on to paint a lovely little sunset and it pissed me off. Don’t say you’re bad at art unless you actually are, it’s annoying. I'm still forgiving Heather for this.
So I had to get over my hellish fear and horrifying skills and see what came from painting. Trever was gone for the night so there were no judging eyes and I just started going for it. Turns out I actually really enjoyed myself once I had a glass of wine. It’s an aerial view of a beach and I’m happy to report it wasn’t as bad as the red-black disaster. Unfortunately, I don’t really think I learned what I expected to learn. I wasn’t saying anything, I wasn’t expressing anything, I was just trying to make pretty waves. The real accomplishment was when Trever saw it, I pointed to the umbrella on the beach and I said, “that’s an umbrella” and he said, “ya I know” and now I can die happy. Maybe connection and expression through visual art works for a certain person and not for me, or maybe it’s true that you have to learn the skills of a craft before you can start expressing yourself through it. I guess I thought I would be able to say so much without words, when really I just wanted people to know that the red circle was an umbrella. I’ll try it few more times and see what happens.
I’ll just keep pumping out masterpieces that will go for millions after my death, “wow what a lovely umbrella” they’ll say.