Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Count Down From 100

In the beginning God created light...then a long time later convinced me to paint. I'll explain.

Last May my pastor gave a wonderful sermon (he usually does, but this one was special to me). The sermon was on God's gifts. I had no clue what my gifts were, so that night I said a prayer asking that he let me know what mine were. I also asked him to be clear because I am not that bright, so something subtle would not work.

Well, it wasn't long when I kept having this urge to paint. Not just paint, but paint with oils. I never considered being an artist. My entire list of art classes includes 1 art class back in high school. That might not sound bad to you, but let me tell you, high school was a long, long time ago. Even with my prayer this did not make sense to me. So I continued to fight this urge. I tried to ignore it - remember there is a reason I asked God not to be subtle. At the time I was not connecting the prayer and the painting. After about a month of this growing obsession, I went to the library and started checking out books and reading about it. This only made things worse. I started dreaming about painting. So I gave in and I looked into purchasing some oil paints and all the stuff you need. At this time, I knew I just didn't have it in my finances to get them. Oil paints are not cheap, not to mention an easel can be very expensive.

Up until this point, I had been making jewelry and selling it. One morning I woke up and had the Epiphany that I needed to sell all my jewelry making equipment and parts and that would allow me to paint. Please understand, I had not been making a living doing this, but I enjoyed it, so making the leap of faith was really a big deal.

So then I gathered everything up, took a bunch of photos, and listed everything in one big lot on Ebay. It did well. Much better than I anticipated. So I had enough for a basic painting setup (including an easel).

Next, I purchase all the paints, brushes, canvas and an easel and a how-to book on painting. This was about mid-July in 2008. I started at the front of the book painting the projects working my way back. The first one was a large bowl full of eggs. I had a very hard time with perspective. And I didn't understand why I couldn't make it look the way the artist in the book did. But after about a week of struggling, I produced a painting. Not a wonderful one, but a painting none the less. I was very excited and because I finished it on a Saturday, the next morning I took a picture of it and showed it to everyone at church. They were all very happy for me and encouraging. Looking back at the painting now I think they were all just being kind - but then their encouragement was all I needed to continue.

The next project was a slice of watermelon, then a coffee pot and cup, then a pepper mill, etc. etc. Each painting took me about a week, so after each one was completed, I would take a picture and show it to everyone at church the next week. After showing it around I would receive more and more encouragement. I did 8 paintings from this book. Each one better than the last. Each receiving more encouragement than the last.

This brings me to September of 2008. I live in a very small town. The next town over is the county seat. I new that every October Greenfield (the county seat) has a festival, but in September I found out they have a fine art show as part of this. (shows how into art I had been.) So with all of the encouragement I had received, I decide to enter. The theme was "our working girl". The theme was based on a poem by Jame Whitcome Rily. A poet from Greenfield at the turn of the century. He is the one responsible for writting "Annie" among others. The poem is about a girl name Elizabeth, who makes what he describes as the best custard pies. I have a friend who has a young niece named Elizabeth. She and her mother live a bit away from me but agreed to send some pictures I could use as reference pictures. In the 3 weeks I had before the paintings were due I painted 2 paintings of Elizabeth making pies. I received a 3rd place for one, and a Honorable mention for the 2nd.

Then one night my dog Bonnie was laying in the living room snuggling her bear. Yes she really does that. And we got a picture of her. This became my 11th painting. It turned out pretty good. Good enough several people declared I was an artist. I didn't know what to think of that, but it did encourage me.

Because of all the encouragement I received I decided to find out more about becoming an artist. I found a really great magazine called "The Artist Magazine". And then I found out it had a website called "Wetcanvas". I started visiting the web site and began learning more and more. The artists that visit this site are very friendly, encouraging, and have helped me improve in so many ways I can't begin to tell you. This is were I learned the theory of 100.

The theory of 100 is very simple. Paint 100 paintings, then decide if you are good or not. So that is were we are. I've now finished 14 paintings. This blog will follow the journey of the next 86. You are welcome to follow along.

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