So, the first of my 50 before 50 list is in the books. Friends gathered at the local paint shop and found ourselves right back in 4th-grade art class, only this time with wine. There were ten of us, on a very cold January night. Surrounded by vivid color, we headed toward the blank canvas. It felt like I remember art class feeling, awkward. My brain knew what it should look like, but my hand did not know how to produce the desired effect. Somewhat like writing with my left hand.
Our instructor was patient and encouraging. We were awkward and anxious. She broke down the process and describe each step. Six squirts of white, two of blue, black, red, yellow, and clean white. We covered the canvas. We watched paint dry. We painted lines that loosely resembled trees and added snow. We added detail, depth through “line work.” We watched paint dry. We chatted, laughed, and fussed with our pictures and I watched Stephanie.
My youngest daughter is an artist. From the time she could hold a crayon, she has explored her world with shape and color. As the rest of us walked through the process, step by simple step. Steph created. She started by adding purple to the white and blue. The sky isn’t a single color, she said. Then she added trees with movement and elegant shape. While I added tiger stripes to my birch trees, she added stunning texture and depth. Hers came alive on the canvas next to me. It was beautiful to behold.
Even more beautiful than her canvas, was the chance to watch this one I love absorbed in her joy. She left us, and entered her own world, where art connects to her heart. Occasionally, she rejoined us, but mostly she gave herself over to the process. She took my breath away.
I sat in wonder as I watched. I wondered how the curly haired toddler had become this stunning young woman. I saw a thousand painted pictures hanging from the refrigerator door. I saw broken crayons, and markers with the tops left off on the floor. I saw play dough, sidewalk chalk, and felt posters. I saw a young woman finding her way.
My painting looks just fine. I had a blast. I will hang it proudly. But the highlight of the night was the chance to glimpse this side of my girl, and the art she creates.
“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.”
― Pablo Picasso
This is part of my 50 before I’m 50 challenge. I hope you follow along and join in the fun!