Last night I went over to a friends house to do some water color painting, eating, drinking and all-around being merry-ness. Insert my immediate panic, fear and all around nervousness when I heard the word “painting”. I have things I’m good at, and I surely have things I’m bad at – and painting, my friend, is something I’m bad at. Drawing. Sketching. Art. Be creative! Use this as inspiration! Words and phrases like that make me bite my bottom lip.
I have creative outlets, and I’m creative in my own way – and drawing, I assure you, is definitely not one of those ways (if you are one of the unlucky friends of mine that plays Draw Something with me you can attest to this). But I thought what the heck – she did say we’d be drinking and eating too, so how bad can this be?
She gave me a very thorough tutorial on the sketch pad, what paints were what, what the acryllics did vs. the water colors, etc. You know – lots of artist lingo going on 🙂 Oh, and did I forgot to mention she is really good at drawing, like really, really good? Yep. She’s good. So you know, not like there was any pressure for me to be great or anything…..sigh.
So we started. And by “started” I mean sat there. Staring. At a blank canvas. (Me of course – not her)
I knew how I wanted it to end up. I knew what I wanted it to look like. Hell, I was even beginning to imagine where I would hang the damn thing or who I would give it to. But I couldn’t start it.
All I was thinking about was the end. Finishing it. Being proud of it. And having it be something really profound, and really meaningful. I mean this painting just had to be a reflection of myself and my life didn’t it?
So I just started drawing. And painting. And mixing colors. And being artful. And being creative. And following the same kind of concepts she had drawn on the pages before me. Pages that told stories of places she had been, and places she wanted to go.
I started doing these really, simple, easy things that – once I got started – really created little thought. Turns out most times, your biggest critic is yourself.
When I was finished, I liked what I saw. I don’t know what it means. I don’t know what it’s suppose to be. Hell, I don’t even know what I’m going to do with it – but at least I friggin painted something. My favorite part was the random newspaper clippings at the bottom that had words like “dream” “journey” and “imagine” on them. Very crafty.
Today when I’m looking at my finished piece I see how silly it was that I was stressed about how to start, or what to do first, or how to get there. Sure it looks like a 5 year old did it. I mean yes, maybe it was suppose to be abstract and ended up being so literal. But do we ever really truly ever know how to take the first step?
We think, we ponder, we analyze, and sometimes we don’t even move. We imagine, we envision, and yet most times – we stand still.
We just wait. For whatever reason, we wait. We know what we want – we know how we want the story to end up, but we just stay still.
I think when I look at this painting (wherever she may end up), I want to remind myself how important it is not not just focus on the end. But to focus on all of the blunders, absurdities and other distractions that crept in along the way (thanks Ralph Waldo Emerson card on my bulletin board). Because of those lil creepers – the ending tells the story it was always meant to tell.
I guess it really doesn’t matter where we end up – it’s the journey of how we got there that matters (SO cliche I know but damnit it’s true!).
And of course – whoever we held onto during those bumpy rides that counts.