Painting my way to the center.

paint 3

I knew once I started noticing the birds outside the window and doing a mental inventory of my art teacher’s studio that I had learned about as  much painting technique as my limited attention span could handle. My instructor taught me how to paint with acrylics last spring (because it was on my 2012 bucket list).  She was wonderful and made me realize that there is no such thing as a bad painting and you can always paint over anything you think is a ‘mistake.’

However I started to notice toward the end of our time together that my teacher closely followed her own set of painting rules.  I’m not big on rules, and especially letting layers of paint dry which most artists do.  So by the end of our time together I couldn’t help but think about how many paintings I could crank out  in one third the time we were taking to do one in class.  Clearly I’m not big on details and patience is far from a virtue of mine, so it was time to fly the coop.  I now create paintings whenever I need a mental break or need to procrastinate.

As I paint sometimes I like to take progress photos.  With this large, 4′ x 2′ painting, my goal was to create my own interpretation of another painting (see bottom pic and photos of the three phases of its life).

It may be because my head cold is making me delirious and more reflective than usual, but some life lessons which were at work as I did this painting have come to mind:

-In the beginning I had no idea how to start but threw some paint on the canvas and started anyway without over thinking it.  (Over-analysis leads to paralysis. Just do it.)

-I had doubts during the  first phase, but powered on. I could always reuse the canvas.  (Gag the self-doubt gremlins and keep on keepin’ on.)

-I had to  level-set my expectations for the final result (it was going to be my version of the other painting, it didn’t have to look just like the inspiration painting).

-I’m pretty sure I was 95 percent relaxed while I did this painting (even though I was most suredly procrastinating something else like touring nursing facilities for my mother).  But for the most part, I set everything else aside once I got going. (I got out of my head and relaxed and breathed.)

-I could have easily said ‘I don’t have time’ to paint that day.  (But I made time because I was feeling out of balance … whether I realized it on a conscious level or not.)

The end result is a cool painting that is somewhat similar to the inspiration piece but I actually like mine better.

And you know that theory about finding a creative outlet to relieve stress?  It works.

In fact, the benefits of any kind of focused artistic creation (painting, collaging, gardening, photography, writing, you  name it) are said to include distraction, flow (getting completely engaged in something to the point of almost meditating) and  balance.

All of these things help you become more centered which really feels good.  Pretty cool concept.  I’m grateful that I’ve learned this.

What have you created lately?


Phase 1

paint 2

Phase 2

paint 3

My final painting.


Inspiration piece.