Picking up a different kind of paintbrush…

Approximately seven weeks ago, one of my closest friends (who lives a state away) brought this little bundle of CUTE into the world:

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When she was planning for this little bear’s arrival, I volunteered to come help her paint the nursery, build some shelves, put the crib together, or anything else she needed. Because that’s what I do these days… I use tools. But back when she knew me I lived in an apartment, and so my creative outlets were limited to fewer amps than my table saw. I ended up painting a lot of things, and building some really crappy furniture using only a Black & Decker drill. So instead of asking for a custom bassinet, she told me what my honorary nephew really needed was a painting for his bedroom.

Not painting his bedroom, but a painting. To hang on the wall. And I blinked at her fifteen times because it’s been years since I picked up a paintbrush with the intention of doing anything other than cutting in around a window.

But, really… was I going to say no to this face?

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I decided to do a 3 canvas piece that could be hung separately, or together. And I had a vague idea of what I wanted it to be. Something a little surreal: a little boy playing in the sunset, using his imagination, chasing his dreams. No pressure.

And let me just say, I don’t consider myself any kind of artist. I’m not afraid to jump right in a create something– whether it’s with wood or paint or any other kind of medium– but as with many house-projects I really don’t know what I’m doing.

Bob Ross doesn’t make messes like this.

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I know the general materials involved in oil paining, and I must have some latent instinct for composition and color but even in my creative heyday it was more dumb luck than technique that made things turn out in some acceptable way.

And let me tell you something about that kind of unintentional skill- it’s use it or loose it. And I haven’t been using it for the better part of five years. So I’ve spent whatever spare time I could grab in the last few months (read: between 2-3 AM) working through this, and painting over it, and sometimes making faces at it.

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Sometimes I went a little crazy with it…

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Sometimes I toned down the color…

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Sometimes I switched up the pattern…

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Once (or twice) I smeared the whole thing out…

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And then started over with The Crazy…

I was about to give up on it, and buy my nephew something big and expensive to make up for the fact that I could no longer produce “hangable” art. In the 11th hour I started painting over it again, this time moving from the dark side of the canvas to the light side (opposite of what I’d been doing the other 3,451 times), and all the sudden it came together.

Kind of.

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I’m not sure that I’m falling-over-in-love with this painting. But it’s kind of growing on me. I almost like each piece separately more than I like them together.

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Or maybe not.

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I think we can safely say that I won’t be quitting my day job to take up painting canvases full-time in the near future.

Luckily, this little guy is not a critic.

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(Nor he he seem to mind me shoving a camera in his face, as long as he could keep that hand in his mouth.)

I think he likes me, despite my lack of artistic-painting prowess.

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Or maybe that’s gas. It’s hard to tell when they’re that little.

Either way, I’m thrilled to be crazy “Auntie Kit”, and you know I’ll be driving as many hours as it takes to help him build his first soap-box race car.

Now, back to tiling the basement floor, which I know for sure I haven’t forgotten how to do…

7 Responses

  1. Wow! I like what you ended up with – as well as a few of them along the way – great that you photo documented your progress….

    I had (have really) a similar project in the works. I was trying to make a painting for my daughter’s room, patterned after the illustrations in the book “Tuesday”. It was to be a night scene – at dusk like you’ve done… but I couldn’t make it look happy or sleepy – it sort of looked frightening… not great for a kids room I guess. You’ve shown me that I have many layers left to get it right… cool.

  2. Wow, I think you are way too hard on yourself. That painting turned out amazing! I love all your ‘takes’ but I think I actually love the ‘toned down’ and ‘switched up patterned’ versions the best I think it is the lovely orange and yellow colors. And swirls. I’m a sucker for swirls. You’ve inspired me to use our art room instead of just leaving it all up to Shaun!

  3. I am seriously convinced that you are superhuman. Your use of time and many talents is just amazing. I think the painting came out great for a little boy’s room. The sky actually reminds me of on of my favorite tattoos with the swirls and bright colors.

  4. I absolutely LOVE your paintings and now I’m certain that there truly isn’t anything you can’t do. Such a lucky little guy to have you for his auntie!!

    blessings,
    Kelley

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