The Joy of Painting

This is not a post about Bob Ross, though, I guess in some ways, it kind of is. Like just about everyone else on the planet, I remember Bob Ross’s “Joy of Painting” show on PBS. I remember staring at the screen, head tilted and wondering how a bunch of blobs of paint could come together on the canvas so quickly and make incredible scenes full of happy little trees and feeling like that was something I could never do no matter how I tried. 

Needless to say, I loved art. I loved drawing a lot as a kid, even though I didn’t feel like I was very good at it, and I looked forward to art class in school the way some of the other kids got excited about gym class. I wanted to learn how to make art, but in a lot of ways I didn’t have any decent art teachers until I got to college. Even then, I took drawing classes to fulfill my art accreditation, still not learning how to paint. 

And today, I still don’t know how to paint, but I’ve been doing it anyway because while I was painting space pumpkins and space tree ornaments during the holiday season, I found myself wanting to paint more and more. I’d finish a project, and feel incredibly sad that there wasn’t anything else for me to paint, so when I was thinking about the things I wanted to accomplish in the next year, I added painting to my list.

After winter holidays were over, I found myself staring down a Michael’s craft store flyer in my email, a canvas sale fluttering its eyelashes back at me. So, I went to Michael’s and I bought some canvas. I came home and immediately started painting the Eye of God Nebula. 

It took me a couple days, between work, writing, baking and life responsibilities, but in the time I was painting I felt so at peace. Here was something I’d been longing to do all my life, and I was finally doing it.

And I didn’t stop there. I started looking around at some things I’d like to try to paint so I could begin filling the walls of my home with artwork all my own.

This past weekend, I painted a unicorn silhouette, marveling at how nicely my horse turned out. As a kid, all the other girls could draw horses (so cliche, I know), but it’d never really been something I could wrap my head around, and yet… I painted one onto canvas and it didn’t look half bad at all.

Feeling incredibly proud of that horse, I spent the following days thinking hard about what I’d like to paint next, the canvas size, the colors I would use, and I finally decided on a dragon silhouette to accompany my unicorn. I spent a few hours in the afternoon, baking some vanilla chai tea cookies while waiting for layers to dry, and just before it was time to think about dinner, I finished my dragon. 

I think I’m obsessed with stars, and I’m okay with that. There’s something incredibly soothing about pinpointing where I want every single star to land on the canvas, whether or not I want it to fall or sparkle a little, but we all have our little obsessions, I guess. 

In the end, it just felt good to finally being doing something I’ve wanted to do since I was a little kid. And I’ll keep doing it, too, hopefully getting better and better with every scene I paint. I doubt I’ll ever be Picasso, or even Bob Ross for that matter, but if I can experience even just a little bit of joy every time I create something, I’ll gladly take it.  

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