The Contract

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“Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art.”

-Andy Warhol

Art inspires me as music does. Having the gift of creating art, whether it’s music, writing, painting or singing, the gift is a blessing. There are three gifts I wish I possessed..singing, playing an instrument and painting. I think singing is out of the question for me because it’s a gift you’re born with. Even though some are born with the gift of music or with art, those are gifts that can be studied and practiced with the potential to reach something closely recognizable. I can get singing lessons, but I’m pretty sure I will never sound like Jennifer Hudson. I can take piano lessons and get good enough to play with my son one day– a long-term goal of mine. I can watch a few video tutorials on YouTube and speak to some of my “artist” friends, and with serious practice, could possibly create a piece of art I could be proud to call, Art.

I added, “Paint Something and Frame It” to my 40 Days to 40 list, and I chose today to conquer the task. I googled “How to paint for beginners”, and found more than enough video tutorials on painting. I watched several and picked a video of a lady named Ginger painting a hibiscus flower. I liked it because it seemed easy to follow and the challenge of painting a hibiscus somehow seemed more attainable. The next step was probably my favorite–buying supplies at………you guessed it………HOBBY LOBBY. I picked my paint, brushes, canvas, and all of the “extras”, and was ready to go.

Inspired by the perfect beauty of the day, I decided to set up my “studio” in our courtyard. It was a little warm today, but the breeze made up for any discomfort. I set out my easel, and all of my painting tools, and i grabbed the wireless speaker so I could check Kendrick Lamar’s  new cd, Damn. Laptop open and YouTube video in que, paints set on my palette, and music on blast, I begin to follow Ginger’s instructions. I realized I was going to have a problem with my “atrium studio” when I tried to mix two colors with my palette knife, and the paint was practically baked on the palette before I could pick up the brush. I had taken so much time in the outdoor set up that I didn’t want to give up that easily, so I put more paint out and tried to move quickly through the video. Unable to follow what Ginger was instructing and listen to Kendrick’s Blood, I gave up, packed up, and went inside.

Irritated that so much time was wasted but unwilling to give up, I set everything up the dining table. I started the video from the top and did my best to follow her strokes and blending techniques. Although I’m sure I’ll be better once I have a better handle on strokes and techniques, all in all, I didn’t do so bad. With every stroke, I could see the makings of my hibiscus flower, and I felt proud and motivated to continue on.

After thirty minutes of pausing the video and correcting, the time comes when you realize your painting doesn’t quite look like the instructors. I though I would be discouraged as I had been earlier, but the opposite happened; through the time and care i put into creating something beautiful, I developed an attachment–a silent contract between artist and art, where the artist promises to see the art through to the best of their ability.

I didn’t get to complete the painting before it was time to get the kids from school, but I was pleased with my progress and okay with breaking at that point.. The exercise showe me even if I was the only person who liked the painting, it was okay because it was my creation–my contract. My contract between Artist and Art. I’m now an artist.

When the kids got home, they were very complimentary (precious angels). I’m not sure if the word, “fragile” was stamped on my forehead, but each of them told me they thought the painting was nice. Kaleb said it was “beautiful”, and Kris said, “It’s pretty. It doesn’t look like a flower, but it’s pretty.” I’ll take that because I’m an artist.


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