I won’t quit my day job

Six of us from work made plans two months ago to get together this week for Paint Nite; it was Elaine’s birthday and we thought it would be fun to celebrate there. I’ve been following it on Facebook and was familiar with the concept; go on their website, scroll through pages of painted images, agree on one based on availability (limited seating and they sell out) and location, reserve a spot with a click of the mouse. We all agreed on a class that would be painting a flower in a restaurant/bar in Middletown.

Wednesday night after grabbing a quick bite at a nearby, more casual restaurant we arrived at our destination, ready to paint. We were shown to the back of the restaurant and up a flight of stairs to a private area set up with long tables covered in plastic cloths. In front of every chair sat blank canvasses propped up on easels, three different size paint brushes and paper plates dotted with red, yellow, white, blue, black paint.

I am not artistic, this I know. I cannot draw a straight line, round circle, forget about making an oval symmetrical.

The instructor was a young, adorable and energetic art school graduate who effortlessly painted circles and ovals, shaded here, filled in there. She was patient and complimentary, told us to follow her lead or paint anything we wanted.

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getting ready to paint with Patty and Elaine

After painting the canvas black we shaded a circle at the center with blue and white paint. From there we started on the petals of the flower, mixing blue and white to create shades of purple. My petals were fat and bulbous, not like the narrow, tubular petals our instructor painted. I started judging myself, telling myself my painting was terrible, comparing mine to others around me. I kept painting, adding blue where it was suggested, then red. I outlined each petal in white, was a little more heavy-handed than the light brushstrokes we were supposed to lay down. Green grass and feathery, white flowers went down next followed by a smattering of stars. As I painted I relaxed and got into a rhythm. I felt my grip loosen on the brushes, let my self-criticism go.

I heard snippets of “mine’s pretty good,” and “remember, this is my first time,” and “I never thought I could do this,” all statements I could have made. We continued painting and, to my surprise, I realized I was having fun. Except for the occasional lunch I don’t socialize with my co-workers outside of work, this was a first. Some of my insecurity came from knowing these women would see me do something I’m not confident in. It’s like letting them see me in my swim suit, I’d feel vulnerable. All of those feelings fell away as the night progressed.

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Flowers

We each painted our version of what we saw and what our abilities allowed. We took photos and sent them to other co-workers. I’m not sure if I’ll put my painting in the attic, basement or straight in the garbage; I wasn’t expecting to create anything I’d want to keep which is fine. And when we got to work yesterday we started looking online for another Paint Nite to attend. Next time I won’t even sweat it a little bit. Just another small victory to remember when I’m doubting myself.

Categories: Home, Musings

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31 replies

  1. I like it Ger. It was bold like you. That is a good thing! How about an artist’s wall at work where everyone could hang their painting. Xo

    • Thanks, Sylvia. It was interesting to see all the different versions of this same flower. My shading must look okay from a distance….let’s not look too closely. 🙂

  2. Love it Geralyn – not only did this let you guys social outside of work, but have a heck of a good time getting those creative juices flowing. I’ll bet you all had the same feelings, but the end result no one would have known. Real nice petal and blends of shades!! Here’s to new adventures!

    • Mary, I thought of you and your beautiful paintings when we were at the class. I love your work and can appreciate a little more the work you put into every one of them. I think we were all a little self conscious but were rooting for each other which is such a nice feeling. Have a good weekend!

      • Thank you for the beautiful compliment Geralyn. Okay, I thought of you too – started running again two weeks ago, then this Monday I pulled or strained something inside of both knees and I’ve been shot every since. Yes I thought of your marathons and am in wonderment!

      • Running, yes…injury, no! Sorry to hear you’ve been sidelined. Hope you’re back on the road soon. I haven’t been running as much as I was but will be out there tomorrow morning.

    • I have no artistic ability but thought it was fun anyway. My painting hasn’t made it to the trash yet but that’s where it’ll end up…and I”m fine with that! Try it!!

  3. I love this: “It’s like letting them see me in my swim suit … .” What a great way to describe your sense of vulnerability. By the way, I like your painting the best. The flower “pops out” from the black of the canvas so my eye immediately went to it before the other paintings. The flower itself is soft and sensual. Don’t sell yourself short. The lovely thing about art is that while skill and technique is important, neither of those matter without the heart 🙂

    • Thank you so much, Marie! I’m glad I went, had second thoughts at the last minute. I hope I’m always open to new things. Maybe, just maybe, I’ll try another class! Have a great day!!

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