Friday, September 23, 2011

Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery

Ever since I was a little kid, I have dreamed of bring an artist.  The idea that I could have a vision of something beautiful in my mind's eye and be able to transfer that vision to paper or canvas was enthralling.  The only problem is that I can't seem to make my hands do what my eyes and mind see.

We have a wall paper mural in our living room.  It's 40 years old and I love it.
Yes, I love the 70s chandelier, too.
I think that one of the reasons why I love it is because we had a wallpaper mural in the house in which I grew up.  That wallpaper, too, was over 40 years old by the time we moved into the house in the 80s. It was a cherry tree and the branches stretched out over our couch and created a lovely scene.  We didn't quite realize how old the wallpaper was until we were watching an episode of I Love Lucy and noticed that Lucy & Desi had the same, exact wallpaper! (I couldn't find a picture, but an artist watched the same episode and painted a similar mural in her daughter's room.)  The wallpaper was filthy and old and my mother eventually removed it, but I truly did love it and was sad to see it go.

Fast forward to the present and my current situation, which is so reminiscent of the past.  I love this mural (although I thought it a bit odd when we moved in), but the problem is that the wallpaper is filthy.  That's what happens when kids grow up in a house, when wallpaper absorbs oils, when there's no real way to clean it.  When we moved in (nearly five years ago now), Honey remarked that it was filthy.  It would need to go.  But I begged and pleaded until we agreed that it could stay until I found a replacement.

I have not yet found a replacement.  There were large canvas paintings of flowers that I loved...but not $1500 of love.  There was a metal abstract art sculpture Honey loved...but the $800 price tag was daunting.  We've contemplated hiring a friend to paint a mural on the wall once we remove the wallpaper and replace it with proper wallboard, but then that brings up the question of what to paint as the mural.

I haven't found a solution yet.  But I discovered that even though I thought it would be easy to paint a version of this scene, it turns out I was mistaken.
Not quite...
Obviously, my painting skills needed work.  So I tried a tree.
Honey arrived home and found me frustrated.

"What's wrong?"

"I can't paint anything!"

I'm not sure why I'm surprised.  I've never had an art class (okay, I had Art for Teachers, but that doesn't really count because we never learned techniques).  Most people have to practice to become skilled, so why did I assume that I could just pick up a brush and have it work miracles?  Honey asked an important question: "What did you learn?"

I learned that I like little circle brushes.  I learned that I like painting foam board (instead of the paper I was using for these paintings) because it seems to dry quickly.  I learned that I need to be more patient with myself.

So instead of trying to paint the mural again, I decided to go for a tree in the four seasons, a concept that I love.  I found a beautiful work of art here, but again I don't have $365 to spend (although I'm sure it's worth it for something this pretty!), so I decided to try for something on my own.

I had a 20"x30" foam board (purchased at Michael's for $1) that I cut into four pieces.  I painted the background different shades for each season.
Using a pencil I then sketched a tree so that I would know where to paint a trunk and branches.
My new favorite type of brush -- a circle brush (I don't know if that's the proper term) -- came in useful after the tree and branches were created.  I used the circle brush to tap leaves into place on three of the four boards and then used it to put snowflakes on the winter board.
I don't know what to do with it, but I'm fairly pleased with how it turned out.  Now I have to find a way to make it more display-able -- maybe paint something like this on canvas so it's easier to hang?  I'm not sure if I trust myself painting on canvas, so last night I tried a tiny painting on a little 5"x7" canvas.
Honey asked, "What are you painting?"

"A's all I know how to paint...for now."

1 comment:

  1. I love your foam board and your canvas. Keep it up and you will get to Carnegie Hall! Thanks for sharing, because sometimes people need to remember that we can learn something new every day of our lives!


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