Saturday, August 20, 2022

An Artistic Throw Down.


 My humble and much-maligned painting of the gardener’s house.

I ventured out to the Sketchbook Club after a two year hiatus.

We met in a beautiful garden here in the Hudson Valley. After a few hello's and how are you's, we set out to various parts of the yard with our sketchbooks and pencils, pens and brushes. 

I decided to paint the gardener's house.

I may have been thinking about Pee Wee Herman's Playhouse. Maybe.

After the making art part of things, we had what's called a "throw down".

When I hear the words "throw down" I cannot help but think of a wrestling match. I imagine some seemingly gentle-looking water color artist leaping up from behind me and then grabbing me around the neck and getting me into a choke hold before throwing me down on the grass. If you met the ladies in my Sketchbook Club you would see how ridiculous this is, but there you have it—my lively imagination. 

Note to self: must stop thinking so much. 

Anyway, I joined in and threw down my little painting of the gardener's house. I was mortified. Imagine this picture sitting side by side with the most exquisite paintings. Quivering flowers in full bloom, their fragile petals captured in expert brushstrokes. Visualize orange-breasted hens--their skittish gestures so evident on the page that you imagine them hopping up and clucking at you. Then, there were the leaves, voluptuous in elegantly muted green and purple pastels.

These ladies are talented! Every work of art was so heart breakingly beautiful, I wanted to cry.

I really didn't want anyone looking at my dreadful little picture. I pushed it over to the side in the hopes that no one would notice it, and then I focused on the work by my compatriots. I told myself--take a breath, stop thinking of your own damn self and LEARN SOMETHING!

Once home, I threw my picture in the recycling bin and promptly forgot about it--until a week later, when my friend, Karen Martin, the very talented (and kindhearted) artist sent me this photograph of my gardener's house.

She said I paint what I see; what only I can I see.

It took me a little while, but finally through her eyes and her words, I now like my little picture. Seriously. I  actually like it.

And guess what? I was able to fish it out of the recycling bin before pick up day!

Creative friends--your work, whether it's a poem, a dance, a song, a fragile just-born idea--lives and breathes outside of you. This thing you gave birth to--it never did anything mean to you, and it truly doesn't deserve all those dismissive words. It deserves your love and appreciation.

And so, your assignment for this week is leave a bit of space before you pass judgment on your own creation. Plant it in the magic box that is called Time. Let those seemingly insignificant tendrils slowly emerge from the earth. Let the budding newness of it grow and blossom and finally flower. Let it become what it wanats to become. And let it surprise even you.

And for heaven's sake, step away from the recycling bin!

Oh, as always--have fun.



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