I’ve always wanted to paint and draw and have just a modicum of talent in that department. I used to google ‘oil paintings’ and wish that I could paint like that. I thought that those who paint so beautifully must have been born with that gift and that no matter how much I tried, I would never be as good because I wasn’t blessed with that ability.
One day, when I was a child, my family and I were outdoors and I saw a woman sitting on a stool on the grass, with an easel in front of her. I was curious about the painting and saw that she had painted the trees in front of her. It looked almost identical. It was beautiful and I was mesmerized by it. When we got home I was desperate; I wanted to paint but had no supplies. So I improvised; I had a small blackboard and white chalk. I sat on the balcony and looked at the old dog kennel even though there was no dog. I remember vividly the logs of wood on top of the kennel and the mesh wire that served as a door. I remember it well because I strained myself trying to draw it.
Needless to say it didn’t look anything like the kennel and I was frustrated. I thought I was horrible and wondered why I couldn’t be as good at drawing as other children. I always compared my sketches to others and, because it was never up to standard, I gave up on it. But I always had a yearning to draw and paint while at the same time resigned myself to thinking it wasn’t meant to be.
Years later, in 2007, I decided to hell with it, I’m going to draw because I want to. I didn’t care if it looked bad, I only cared that I did it so that I wouldn’t always wonder about it.
I sat in my grandma’s yard and drew the pot plant that I saw since drawing from memory is a difficult task for me. The drawing wasn’t perfect; far from it, but I was happy because I did it. And I enjoyed doing it. I consider it my first drawing and here it is:
I found myself drawing more often; while I was on the bed, when I sat outside, even at the kitchen table. This is one of my favourites:
I don’t claim to be good at it. And that isn’t the point. I didn’t do it for praise, and maybe that’s why there was so much joy in it.
Yesterday, while on the way to the supermarket to buy cat food, my husband and I passed an art store. Just the night before he found his dad’s old paintbrush and a few acrylic paints which made me think of all those years ago when I saw that woman painting. So I had to go into the store, even though I know absolutely nothing about different types of paint, paintbrushes and anything art related.
Inside I saw canvases. And shelves of paintbrushes. And assortments of paint and pencils and other artsy things which are used for I-don’t-know-what. The only thing I knew at that point was that I wanted to paint. Who cares if it’ll look like a pile of doo-doo drawn by a second grader? Thankfully my husband took art classes before and knows a lot about different types of ‘art stuff’; he helped me decide on what I wanted since I didn’t know the difference between, well, anything.
When we got home I was BEYOND excited. I had never ever ever owned or used professional ‘art stuff’. The first thing I drew was a plant; a candy plant to be exact just because I wanted to use lots of colour. When I was done I decided to paint a bird. I like birds and I drew one before, back in my sketching days.
Here’s what I drew in 2007:
And this is what I painted last night:
Even though I’ve never painted before and even though I’m not an artist I’m going to paint as though I am one, humming along to mellifluous French melodies while a paintbrush takes place of a pen for a while.