At the Paint Party
Would you like to hear how I did at the paint party on Saturday?
I’d promised a friend who likes to sketch, that I would take her along to this Paint Party, put on by some ladies at our church.
(They are trying to round up interested women to form a new Women’s Ministry. I don’t really have time for that, but thought that accepting an invitation to paint a picture under and instructor’s guidance would be a fun way to spend an afternoon).
A different friend dropped in during the morning. In fact, I was so startled to hear her knock that I pressed the wrong button on my security system key fob. I managed to get it turned off in a minute or so, but the shrieks from the alarms that went off were enough to rattle us both for a few minutes. However, we had a nice visit for about half an hour.
Then I realized that I better hurry up my morning agenda if I was to leave on time for this paint party.
Gaynor and I had paid our fees when we registered, so we were able to go in as soon as we had taken off our winter wear. In the gym all the round tables were covered with blue plastic tablecloths, and at each table were 4 stark white canvases, with 2 brushes by each, and a red tumbler of water.
We were invited to join Phyllis and Kathy at a table near the center front. I knew who these ladies were, but it took a while before I caught on that they were a mother and daughter. We had time to get better acquainted while we waited for the party to start.
Two other friends of mine had been to paint parties like this, and so I had a rough idea of what to expect. But when I saw the sample painting on an easel at the point from where the instructions were to come, I think my face scrunched up in some disappointment.
I’d sort of expected a simple sunset or sunrise on a prairie horizon. This was a big white moon on a black background. I don’t care for dark, muddy pictures like that. I could see that there were to be branches with blossoms silhouetted over the moon, but they didn’t look realistic to me. That moon didn’t give off any light, and if there was no real light in the picture, how would one see blossoms?
Now, I should give you some background on myself. I may have mentioned this in the past, but you might not recall it.I spent from about 1972 to about 1995 (more than 2 decades) in children’ ministries in church. That includes teaching Sunday School, Pioneer Girls, which involved crafts almost every week), and AWANA, and in the 1990s, before Mom got so sick she needed my more or less full-time attention, I was the director of our Daily Vacation Bible School for one week every
summer at the Neuanlage church. However, I prepared crafts and supplies from about March onward to July . . . I poured 100s of plaster of paris plaques for several classes, and then also for two outreach VBSs up at the Beardy’s Reserve, etc.
Plus, even though I’ve never had an art lesson in my whole life, I’ve painted a number of paintings (for myself), and countless sample crafts for the students. And, also many of the leftovers, later, which I turned into gifts. So. My only degree in art is ‘years of experience’! Oh, and I guess all the times I taught those classes of Middlers and Juniors to paint means I have instructor experience too. 🙂
The last 10 years or so though, I have allowed myself hardly any time to paint at all, so I felt rather out of touch on Saturday. I wasn’t even sure I could remember how to paint reasonably well.
I don’t recall the instructor’s name now, but when she said that she was not a professional, and that we could paint want we wanted if we didn’t want to follow her instructions – that was all the permission I needed to DO IT MY WAY!
We were all provided with a Styrofoam plate with some gobs of acrylic paint, and she said to use the black to draw a circle off to one side, and then to paint the whole canvas, including sides with the black. I decided to do my circle with a pale yellow, and then I mixed a light blue to work in circles around it, and gradually I picked up more blue and got the rest of the upper sky a darker blue. I also took our square of paper towel and smudged off the excess paint around the moon so the
sky/air would be more sheer there.
My swipes of colour were a little uneven in the lower region so I turned those into prairie hills, and planted some grasses and grain fields there, and then filled in some darker masses of evergreen trees off to the sides. But then in the foreground AI put one stark naked tree without leaves. Which meant it must be a fall scene, so why would I put blossoms on it? A spatter of black paint landed on the edge of the moon, so I put a bird there. Unfortunately, it didn’t look like an eagle, so I think we’ll call that a hawk.
Well, it didn’t take long before others got up from their tables and came over to see my work and I got many favourable comments. There was a break in which we could go pickup food from a table against the wall. Walking past other tables I began to realize that most of them looked rather stark with contrast, but their moons were all white holes in the blackness. No light.
I did not feel my details were very realistic or well-proportioned, but I chalked it up to being out of practice. Still, now I began to feel better about my painting. When I finished it, I wandered around and took some camera shots. One young girl had turned her tree branches into thick white birch barked branches that stood out well against the black background.
Another girl pulled out a cellphone and showed me a picture of a sheer-like pink haze drifting like a cloud partially over a moon, with some blossoms scattered over it. This was what she wanted to do. I told her that was a lovely picture but it would be hard to do now that she had such a solid black underneath. (You almost have to spread a new colour like you would peanut butter over the old to hide it).
Anyway. Long story shortened; on Sunday, I got compliments even from a husband of one woman who had been there. He said she had raved about my painting! It always feels good to get compliments, doesn’t it?
But here I have this painting sitting on a chair, and I wonder what to do with it. I have no wall space to hang it, and it doesn’t really suit this room either. So I’m still puzzled as to what I accomplished on Saturday, except to have a NEW experience. And to awaken that old artistic streak in my soul.