In a world full of artistically creative people, I believe I got the short end of the paintbrush when it comes to the visual arts. I can write, yes, but painting, drawing, sculpting; these are all foreign concepts to me. From the first time the kindergarten teacher looked at the stick horse I had drawn (much larger than the people) and observed the little lump of clay squished between my fingers, she swallowed hard and said, “Well, isn’t that….nice.” What she was really saying was,”Michelangelo and Van Gogh have nothing to worry about.”
This isn’t something that weighs very heavily on my mind most of the time. After all, Michelangelo had to lie on his back and paint over his head and Van Gogh had some issue which caused him to cut off his ear, so I’m just as well off, right?
Every so often, however, I put myself in a situation which illustrates my lack of ability and such was the case this week. There is a new trend in parties in which women gather together, have snacks and wine and paint pictures. I’ve often wondered about these parties, but this week, I got to go to one.
We sat down before blank canvases set on small table easels. I followed the instructions of the woman conducting the lesson and went up to get myself some paint. A plate with black, white and then some purple paint. I set it back on the table beside the canvas. The canvas promptly toppled over and fell in the paint. I took this as a bad sign. I’m pretty sure the canvas intended it as an aborted suicide attempt.
I thought at first that we would be choosing our subject and I had my large stick horse with the too small legs and the rabbit ears all ready, but alas, it seems we were all to draw a scene with a sun or moon and graduating shades of paint topped by a dead tree full of scroll branches and a swing. Okay, I could do that.
While everyone was painting their graduating shades of paint around a white center, the leader was admonishing us to blend the different layers. I thought I did that, but by the time I was done, it looked more like that weird tunnel from the twilight zone. When the leader wanted our attention, she would call out, “Ladies, ladies, ladies.” We were to respond with, “Yes, yes, yes.” And have a drink of wine.
As it happens, I don’t drink alcohol (although I thought about changing this policy that night), so I had brought a huge glass of Sprite. I love Sprite, so when she said, “Ladies, ladies, ladies,” I had a big slurp of Sprite. This created two problems, however. One, I couldn’t her instructions over my slurping and even worse, I had to running to the bathroom, so I missed even more instructions.
I managed to get a dead, black tree on the canvas in front of the Twilight Zone tunnel, but my branches didn’t curl in that scroll that she had made. In fact, the branches looked more like an open safety pin and a baby’s curl. I tried to make a tire swing (wanting something a little different) and my first attempt looked slightly pornographic. When I was done with the picture, everyone walked by and, using the same tone and look as my kindergarten teacher, said, “That’s…..nice.”
It’s okay that I’m not good at painting, though. At least I didn’t have to lie on my back and paint over my head and I wasn’t required to chop off either of my ears. But the next time I’m invited to one of these drink and paint parties, I’m going to drink and let somebody else paint!