Painting the Town (part of the ‘What If?’ project)

Are you wondering how I am doing on my “What If?” endeavor?  Me, too!

Ummmm.  Damn!  It’s really  hard to change when you’re in your mid-40s!  Ugghhh! Falling into old patterns is like wearing your favorite old t-shirt – but, the shirt may be faded, tattered, permanently stained and outdated.  Just because something is comfortable, doesn’t make right (see pic to the left)!

I was going to start with baby steps, remember?  Whenever a project or problem would arise in either my personal life or professional life, I was to say to myself, “How can we make that work?” -or- “What can we do to solve this dilemma?” -or- “What can we do differently?”  . . . .  Have I been doing that on a regular basis?  Not exactly.  It has been a struggle to suppress my automatic response of “We can’t do that because it’s too expensive, too complicated; we’re too busy, there’s no time, yada, yada, blah, blah, blah. . . .”  

Hopefully, exercising the right side of my brain will eventually get me thinking in a different way (how long will this take?).

The Painting Project

As I mentioned before, I started taking painting classes in mid-March.  That surprised a lot of people because I’m a die-hard, left-brainer (for left & right brain inventory, click here).  I don’t go anywhere without my lists (and my calculator!).  Never having painted anything but my nails and interior walls, this seemed like the perfect thing to push me outside of the comfy zone.  

After 8 lessons, here are the results:

This is my first oil painting ever!  What do you think?  I think it looks like a 4th grade art project, but my family lies and tells me that it is really good (they want me to continue doing their laundry :)).  See the purplish/gray meandering thing on the left side of the picture?  Is it a river or a path?  Many have commented on the awesome path toward the mountains!  It is supposed to be a wintery river scene.  Oh well. . . . . 

Here is my second painting ever – it’s a still life instead of a landscape.  On the left side is the actual picture of the “still life”  and on the right is my artistic interpretation of the still life.  Before you comment, please note that it’s still a work in progress :).

I thought the still life would be easier, but it is NOT.  You have to worry about shadows and the direction of the “light source”, etc.  Ahhhhhhh!  This class is starting to get on my nerves a little bit because of the flashbacks to Mrs. Rose’s 8th grade art class  – it’s becoming too precise and rule-oriented (“my sun wasn’t artsy enough”, blah ,blah).  I want to do something without right & wrong answers (like street fighting! Okay, maybe not quite that but you get the picture, right?).  I wanted to do something that was less structured like a Jackson Pollock painting.  You know, where you just toss your paints on the canvas like a grown-up finger painting and then get to hang your painting in the Museum of Modern Art?!

It sounds like I’m not enjoying my art class, but I am!  I guess there are rules and guidelines for everything so I just need to chill and learn the basics.  I do look forward to Monday nights – 2.5 hours of me time!  Once I get my station set up, put my iPod earbuds in, it’s all good.

The next big step for me is to start a painting outside the classroom without the safety of having the instructor nearby. . .. . What should I paint?


4 thoughts on “Painting the Town (part of the ‘What If?’ project)

  1. paint your family photo in abstract letting your left brain sleep for awhile. 🙂 Let’s see your feelings on the canvas


  2. Good for you, Jenni! (Plus, perfectly hideous photo choice. Nice.)

    I love the still life! I like the other one, too, but there’s something about the still that speaks to me. You did such a good job on shading. I can really see the dimension! It’s hard to break out of that dominant side of the brain. You go!


  3. Thank you on both counts! I did, unfortunately, look through mutliple pics on that Walmart site to find the one that “spoke to me”.

    And, TY for your kind words on my painting. It has actually been very liberating – I’m going to keep working on it.


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