I Shouldn’t’ve Been Surprised

But painting is a SKILL.

I set out today to express my feelings on canvas.  Like any amateur painter, I was convinced that it wasn’t as hard as it looked.  All those people that dreaded arts&crafts class just weren’t following the directions carefully enough.  Red + blue = purple, and any color under the rainbow can be made using the primary three….right?

Palette knife in hand, I approach my landscape canvas, drop cloth strewn haphazardly below my easel.  (Drop clothes, too, were for dummies—-the only reason paint gets everywhere is a. you do something stupid or b. you do something stupid on purpose, in which case you should get a huge studio and plenty of Goodwill clothes like Jackson Pollock.)  I lived to regret both the palette knife and the haphazard drop cloth.

Apparently colors can be active and passive---without your help.

Apparently colors can be active and passive---without your help.

The first flesh tone I designed (yes, I used that pretentious word) was fairly successful.  The person looked, as I’d hoped, sickly and a little yellow.  Yay for me: not only could I paint a person that matched my skin color, but I could do it “expressfully”—implying emotion and grandeur beyond the frame.  Yeah, whatever.  When I tried to do some shading to provide depth of perspective, I royally screwed up.  How the hell do you make a “darker” flesh tone that implies shadow, not an entirely different ethnicity?  Crap, I’m in over my head.

I start mixing and mixing and mixing and mixing.  Now I have every painter’s nightmare: that non-descript, totally ugly gray-imposter that you get when there’s a little of EVERY color you purchased fighting to make something of itself in the goop thats now overflowing the neat little rims of your $5 plastic palette.  Shit.

Finally, I give up and mix it on the canvas (I’m a fan of texture anyway).

A few hours and a few hail Marys later, I’ve got an abstract, multimedia piece—complete with water drips down the canvas and some left over crepe paper from last year’s birthday party cockeyed pretentiously across the muddy color fields.  Damn, if I could only come up with some deep and meaningful title like “No. 432,” I could really go somewhere with this.  I wonder: does eBay have a fine art section?  Maybe I could at least get back the cost of paint…all the gallons and gallons I’m now pouring down my sink, trying to avoid getting yelled at for running up the water bill.

Oh, yeah.  And I dripped right beside the drop cloth, and my clean white carpet becomes the casualty of my self-expression.

Just another lovely Saturday afternoon as an inspired young professional coming to terms with the vicissitudes of modern life.  (Click here to see.)


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