by Beth Diane Bradley
Most of us have a secret desire to try something new, especially when we arrive at a certain age and get that now or never feeling. For more adventurous types, it might be sky diving or mountain climbing. But since I’ve been known to injure myself playing ping pong, those two activities are not on my list.
The thing I’ve ignored for years is my desire to learn to paint. I’ve painted my bedroom before, or the front door, perhaps. But I’ve never dared peruse the art supplies aisle at the hobby store looking for paint, brushes and canvas, thinking I could actually paint a picture –one worth looking at, that is.
And so far, the later has yet to be accomplished.
I finally bought some art supplies and couldn’t wait to come home and try them out. As I took off the lid of each brightly colored tube of acrylic paint with lovely names like burnt sienna, raw umber, vermillion and blue lake – I realized the tubes needed to be pierced with a tool I didn’t know I needed. I rummaged through the kitchen drawer and decided the thing you stick in an ear of corn would work quite nicely.
I opened several tubes, putting small blobs of colors on the palette, and stared at the blank canvas for awhile. OK, just do it, I told myself – I’ve always wanted to paint birds, so I’ll start with that. In hind sight, I would have been better off painting the Nike logo, and calling it a night.
I found a picture online of a brightly colored exotic bird and started to dab feathery spots of blues and greens on the pristine white board. At first, it showed a little promise, but the shape of the bird started to bloat and then he began to look a little green around the gills –which, if I’d been painting a picture of a walleye, would have been perfect.
After the bloated wonder was complete, I decided to add to the branch he was sitting on, so I started painting the rest of the tree and the sky. Frankly, I should have painted a nice tornado to knock down the tree and kill the bird. But it was too late.
I decided to put that one aside and took out the second canvas. I had several blobs of blue, green and yellow paint left on the palette. I found a picture online of a peacock with its tail feathers spread out to fill the page.
I started painting the feathers and the body, and then tried to paint its head. I realized by this time, the picture I had chosen as my model was actually the ugliest peacock picture I’d ever seen. Yes, that is my excuse. It’s the reason the finished product looks exactly like Darth Vader in drag.
I had no expectations my first paintings would be anything but horrible, so my hopes are not dashed. But I am hoping the garbage man has a good sense of humor — or very poor taste in art. I’m sure all the great artists started out this way. Move over, Grandma Moses .