Have you have wanted to paint but something has held you back? For many years, I felt the desire to paint…but had self-doubt and fear. Self-doubt my art would look foolish and childish. Fear my work would be criticized. Sharing this with my husband, he encouraged me to take a class. With anticipation and some apprehension, I signed up for an Introduction to Watercolor class. The instructor would supply all the materials for a small fee. A relief as I knew nothing about paintbrushes, canvas, paint colors and types. It was a whole new language.
Taking a seat, I was intimated by fellow students wheeling in their supplies. Industriously lining up a plethora of brushes, water containers and palettes of paint exotically labeled; Alizarin Crimson, Burnt Umber, and Payne’s Gray. These were colors definitely not in my Crayola box repertoire. Expertly, they set up their easels and taped their watercolor paper in preparation to paint.
What was I doing? I had five primary color dabs of paint on wax paper, a paper plate in which to mix colors, a water container and a five-by-eight piece of watercolor paper taped to a piece of pressed wood with artist masking tape. Three paint brushes sat before me; a one-inch flat brush, a round number 12 brush, and a thin liner brush. There were a few other first timers nearby with the same basic setup. We nervously smiled.
Scanning the room, the instructor could sense our novice trepidation and clapped her hands for attention. What she said next has stayed with me all these years. Her words gave me the freedom to paint, write, sing and explore other creative endeavors. She said, “If you are painting to be perfect, you should take up photography. Only God creates perfect. You are here to express your uniqueness. At the end of the class everyone will post their painting on the chalkboard, and we will critique as a group. You will see everyone’s work will be different, but everyone’s work will also be a masterpiece, a masterpiece you created… no one else.”
She then handed out a multi-page worksheet describing the nuts and bolts of watercolor painting. A lot of information, but fascinating. The instructor walked us through the process as we gathered around to observe the technique. Then we returned to our desks to perform that step. The process of painting broken down in a way we could create our painting, stroke-by-stroke. Holding my prized first piece of artwork, I proudly displayed it to my husband. Here is a picture of that first painting:
PS – those are birds flying in the air 😉
There is a word for becoming so absorbed in an activity you lose track of time. It is called ‘flow’. A person becomes so fully immersed in a feeling of energized focus that time stands still. When I write or paint or sing, I enter the ‘flow zone’. What I write, or paint, or sing is not perfect Not a masterpiece. But it doesn’t have to be. It is me or you … individual … creative … and perfect in the eyes of the Father.