I am in a women's group that is discussing Brene' Brown's book The Gifts of Imperfection
. It's a great group and a great book. It is a book I need to read many times until it becomes a part of me - being comfortable in my own skin and not getting hung up on trying to be perfect. As a friend said recently, "We are recovering perfectionists!" A few weeks ago, in the Gifts of Imperfection group, we worked on creating a personal mantra. Each of us created a unique one. I thought through my goals, and I came up with "Be Brave. Be Real. Be Carol." So what does Brene' Brown's book and a personal mantra have to do with the title of this post?
The Chestnut Group is a group of plein air painters. There are some amazing professional artists in the group. I have taken classes from many of them. However, any artist can join the group - beginners included. So two years ago I joined. The group sponsors workshops and does a lot of painting to support local parks and environmental projects. It's a good group! This Wednesday (tomorrow) evening, is the annual Christmas party. One thing they do at the Christmas party is each person can bring a small painting wrapped in brown paper. Then they have a drawing - each person that brings a painting gets a painting.
My dilemma is: Do I take a painting - one of my obvious "beginner" paintings and join in the drawing? That's actually the reason I didn't go to the party last year. I felt there was no way I could submit one of my paintings into the same drawing as those amazing artists I know. This year, however, I volunteered to setup for the party because I knew that if I volunteered to help I wouldn't back out of going. I had decided to not participate in the drawing. But then my friend, Sheryl - also a Chestnut - tried to convince me to participate. I said I would. However, I don't have a painting suitable for the swap. I want one I'm at least halfway proud of. I like the "Three Kisses" painting I did in class Saturday - but it is done in oils and is still quite wet. It won't be anywhere near dry by Wednesday.
So I decided yesterday to re-paint the Hershey Kisses with acrylics which dry within a few hours. Here is that one:
I don't know. Just glancing at it, I like it - but looking at it closely, there is some unintended "texture" where the paint clumped up. I haven't used acrylics much at all in the past year and a half, and they REALLY dry quickly - well before I'm finished painting.
However, I'm going to varnish it tomorrow, and I'm writing a poem that I'll print on a large adhesive sticker and put on the back of it - wrap it in brown paper and then BE BRAVE and follow through and take it to the party. That's where my mantra from the Brene' Brown group comes in. I've got to BE BRAVE. Really, even if the best artist in the group draws my painting, they can always toss it if they hate it - or paint over it - or give it away. I KNOW I'm a beginner, and everyone who contributes a painting to the drawing knows there are beginner painters in the group. I haven't varnished a painting yet, but my understanding is that it makes the painting look better - it evens out the finish. So I will update after the party and write how it went.
Update: I finished the poem for the 3 Kisses painting. I renamed it "A Kiss Bouquet." Here's the poem - it's cheesy, (LOL!) but it's the best I could come up with in a very short period of time.
A red kiss for love – alive, true, and
Hearts beating together – a vibrant love
Silver is for time – a long life together
Standing solid – through storms and fair
A green kiss for change - renewing each day
Still familiar and warm – a “Kiss Bouquet”
I figure that even if a great artist gets my gift, they can always give it to someone they love as a gift. Or . . . they can always toss it in the trash.
Update after the party: So the party was a lot of fun. I met a lot of people and enjoyed chatting with other artists. And yes, one of the absolute BEST artists in the group got my painting in the drawing. Seriously, he's an artist that TEACHES a lot, has paintings in many galleries, and has won all kinds of awards. I looked at his website just now - and WOW! AMAZING ART! LOL! So Jim Himsworth - "Portrait Painter and Fine Artist" now owns my "A Kiss Bouquet" painting. WHY couldn't a beginning painter have gotten my painting?!?!??!!! I really envisioned a woman getting the painting - and I had a woman in mind when I wrote the poem - thinking a woman would appreciate the playful nature of painting 3 Hershey Kisses - and then the sentimental type poem.
And I wonder why that bothers me so much. I hate to think that whoever got my painting was disappointed to have gotten a beginner's painting. I have no idea how Jim feels - I'm sure he would say that he really likes it - but I can't imagine that he would do anything with it other than toss it in a corner or in the trash.
So I need to quit obsessing about the fact that a fantastic, experienced and nationally recognized artist got my painting. Let it go. Let it go. Let it go. It is OKAY to not be perfect. It is OKAY to be a beginner painter. I participated in the painting exchange, and that was my goal.
Here's the painting I got in the drawing. It's pretty. I took a class on "painting each day" - and one of the things we did was a series of quick paintings of a vase of flowers. The teacher recommended we use specific boards. I'm almost certain this painting was done in that class because it looks so much like the stack of paintings I have in my studio that I did in that class - and it's painted on the exact same brand/size/type of board that we used in that class.
I love it. I had the hardest time with those flowers, but this artist, Claudia Williams, really nailed it. She was able to paint the flowers with only a few strokes. We had to do a 40-stroke painting in that class - and maybe this is her 40-stroke painting. It looks like it could be.
Despite my insecurities about my Kisses painting, I really enjoyed the party, and I will participate again next year. I will do my painting ahead of time next year and have a nice little landscape to put in the drawing.
Updated 1/30/2019: I mentioned above that I needed to "Let it go!" And time has helped me to do just that. I needed a day or two after the party to get over my "OMG! A great artist got my painting!" angst. Now it really doesn't matter to me. I will definitely participate next year.