Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Find Yourself in Play

I'm being interviewed for a guest blog thingy and it has made me realize that I haven't lived my life for 'me' in a very long time. And I don't have a body of work to show that I'm creative or successful.

If anyone asks me my favorite color, favorite food, favorite movie -- I don't know. Now, ask me my husband's or my sons' or even my mother's favorites and I'd have a better chance to answer. I don't even know my favorite song -- Derrol's is anything Beatles and One Tin Soldier. And he knows the words to every song and he knows who wrote every song. Me? Not a clue.

The one thing I have maintained through the years is my own identity in books. I KNOW my favorite books and authors. I even know why! I even have a favorite poem. All of this to say that I'm getting old and don't know who I am. And we think teenagers are mixed up!

The good thing about reaching this age is that I can give up all pretense of being what everyone else wants. I can just be me -- as soon as I figure out who she is.

I thought I was a painter. I'm still looking for my creative outlet. Words are failing me these days. So I picked up a brush. A picture is worth a thousand words. Well, not this one. Unless they are explitives. Yet, I learned quite a bit while making this picture.

First of all, I used Latex satin wall paint as the background color. Then I brushed a layer of some metallic textile paint that I had leftover from my Playing with Paint class with Lyric Kinard. And then I used a Jacobean quilt design from Patricia B. Campbell and Mimi Ayars book "Jacobean Rhapsodies" as my design. I don't draw. I have difficulty tracing. But it came out okay.

Then I gathered up the acrylics that we had purchased way back when Derrol and I thought he could make painted wooden Christmas ornaments. I had red, green, blue, yellow, black, white, brown and a couple of glittering thingies. I started mixing colors and trying to achieve some of the 'fabric' look of the photo in the quilt book. Thanks to Lyric, I didn't hesitate after I thought, "I wonder...." I just started mixing. Did you know you can get a beautiful rose color by mixing brown and bright red? I also learned how to make Army green -- or the color of mud. Not my best experiment, but it did work as a base color for a leaf on which I over painted a few stripes and speckles. Acrylics dry really really fast so it is difficult to swirl colors into them like the textile paints.

I'm pleased with some of the things I tried on this painting. It turned out as I had hoped. Overall -- it looks like a paint by number gone badly wrong. Childish? Maybe Folk Artsy -- definitely. Not the look I was going for. Too bright. Too gawdy. And now I'm wondering why I have loved Jacobean prints and quilts for all of these years. It may have something to do with the black backgrounds traditionally used.

All of this to say -- I still think I might be a painter. But most of all I think I'm learning how to let go, experiment, and take away something from what I've done rather than beat myself up because it isn't working. OK, there was about six hours of that, too.

Another thing about any kind of art -- painted or fabric or painted fabric -- it is inspiring. And it makes words form in my brain. And for someone my age capturing the right word when you want it has gotten a bit trickier. So in all honesty, I present you with yesterday's work in order to inspire you to play! And, I've included Renoir to show how well his play time turned out!

Maybe I'll repaint this in a monotone -- navy blue? Well, off to experiment. The nice thing about paint -- just add another layer. Hey, that's good advice for a novel, too!

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