I belong to an online painting club and yesterday I participated in one of the weekly painting exercises. (Trust me, this is the ONLY way you will ever see the word “exercise and I participated” in the same sentence….)

This was an Intuitive painting class….meaning we were just to grab any color that “spoke” to us and to paint however we felt led.

Then after we were done painting freely, we were to “see” what we could make out of it…..

I should have listened to Nancy Reagan and just said, “NO” back in the 60’s and 70’s as this is what I “saw” and proceeded to make out of the kaleidoscope of colors.

We are to leave this laying (lying? This word and it’s tense’s make me tense cause I never know the proper use of lie, lay, lain, laid, laying, lying) around all month and work on it as we feel led (lead?…hmmm, maybe I need to spend more time relearning grammar instead of watching painting videos…) so I am going to give her longer and thicker bangs and perhaps, add more layers to her facial features and slim down her bouffant hairdo but if you grew up in the 60’s, big bouffants were all the rage….I was too young for it but I remember my aunt, Cookie, having a big one! (Side note: my daughter has hair to die for…naturally wavy and thick enough to make wigs for six people BUT when she has her hair cut the stylists always want to blow dry it and O’Neill warns them that it can get BIG….they never listen….and when they are done, they stand back and say with a mix of awe and fear, “Whoa, that is a big hair” and have to redo it without blow drying it….she is the Queen of Bouffant Hair!)

Now this next one was just a canvas panel that I had slapped some excess paint on from other projects. I never waste any paint and whatever is left after one project becomes the base texture of the next one and so I had all these colors mixed up and when I looked at it, I “saw” the shape of a jawline so this is what that mess became. Part of the class instruction was to use “negative space” to make something so I fashioned a face by using dark colors. Not sure what she is….must be from the deep recesses of my twisted mind….or the fact I can’t paint faces worth poop.

Anyone who creates knows the internet is both a blessing and a curse. There are women in my painting groups that are AMAZING and many have just started painting, too. It is so hard not to look at what they are creating and then look at my second~grade (my apologies to the more~talented second graders out there) work. It takes sheer tenacity and stubbornness (I get that from BOTH parents) to stick with it. I have no desires or illusions of being anything but a hobbyist artist. I have to remember I paint for the sheer JOY that it gives me….so the results are unimportant.

How often do we judge ourselves by the mirrors of others? Who would we be if we lived all alone with only one~way communication? We could send out our work to others but not get any replies. No internet to search for comparisons. No one to criticize or judge our work. Just us. To give in to the creative freedom we all long for. To sing at the top of our off~tune/pitchy voices; to play that instrument and not hit all the notes; to dance like Elaine from Seinfeld; to paint like a child with wild abandon.

That is my wish for me and for you….to create for just the total pleasure of the process regardless of the finished product.

Come create with me and we will scream with joy when you discover how much fun you are having using your hands to make something. We can even dance like Elaine!

The Gypsy