I’m NOT an artist. Not by any definition of the word.
It’s always been frustrating for me seeing people around me like my sister or my husband that were able to create something beautiful so effortlessly. I absolutely envy their talents.
In theory, painting should be relaxing and almost meditative. But to do that, you have to let go a little bit and for me, that is nearly impossible. When my husband and I elected to tackle “Paint Something” on our bucket list, I thought we would do a sweet and simple painting to place in our living room…but that is not what happened.
When we first decided to paint something, we were in the middle of rearranging our living room. This involved a lot of cleaning, purging old trinkets, and moving furniture. We made quick decisions on what we loved and did not love in the space. This included a painting that hung over the couch that had been there forever. My husband complained on a weekly basis about how much he hated the painting.
Finally, his chance to get rid of it!
That meant that we needed new artwork for the living room but while shopping, we realized that we could not agree on any of the pieces we found. That was when my husband asked if we should just paint our own!
Seeing an opportunity to cross off an item from my bucket list, I agreed and we bought some canvas to try our hand at a collaborative piece.
I went through my natural process of creating a game plan. The first step was to determine how many cavasses we would use. I knew immediately that I wanted multiple canvasses to link together to form one large piece. Then, the sizes. I ultimately decided on varied sizes, one large, two medium, and two small. Although oil paints sound lovely, I’ve never used them before and thus we opted to use the acrylic paints that we already owned.
In retrospect, I would have bought new sets of brushes. We paint rocks and have TONS of tiny paint brushes but nothing much larger. We made it work with what we had but it definitely would have helped to have more of a variety.
The next part of my plan was to determine the colors that would work best in the room. We have an odd foresty-green color on the walls that we decided yellows and browns would look the best with. I also liked the idea of a pop of blue to highlight the colors. Then, to decide on the subject of the painting. We both agreed on a theme of nature for the paintings and after some internet searching, we decided on a simple setting of trees that I thought would not be too complex for me but would still look nice on the walls.
We started the process of painting and it took much longer than I anticipated. We would paint sections at a time and I found myself easily overwhelmed if it didn’t turn out exactly how I envisioned it. At first, we were very organized and painted the sections evenly on all the canvasses. As time went on though, we began to focus on each canvas individually.
During the process, I realized that we would mix and blend colors on different canvasses and it was difficult to get exactly the same color for each one. This could have been avoided by doing all canvasses at the same time but we were a little impatient. Because my husband and I tackled these together, I found that it also challenged our ability to work together. We had to be on the same page and often times, were not. What I saw in the painting and what my husband saw were sometimes very different things.
At one point, I had a meltdown that made me want to stop the whole thing. We couldn’t quite replicate the look from the first painting that we finished and it looked a little disjointed. After some deep breaths and cuss words, we returned to the painting and added some more flecks of color and it turned out much better.
We also had the problem of the painting looking cohesive in the techniques and styles we used. One of the trees (I had mostly painted it) had a rounded base that the other trees did not. When we put the painting on the wall, I noticed it immediately and insisted on fixing it. Carefully, we added whites and pale yellows to clean up the rounded areas and voila! Fixed!
Once we finished them, we quickly hung the paintings and, even though they weren’t perfect, I honestly can say that it was a fun adventure and realized that painting with someone else is very difficult and takes A LOT of patience! We worked on these for about 2 weeks or so and it was rewarding to have something to hang in the house with our name on it. Here is our final completed version:
I’m not a painter or an artist and I know almost nothing about painting but after this experience, I’m a lot more open to taking a class now, especially with my husband as a date night! I’m looking forward to the next project on our list and meanwhile, I’ll be enjoying a cup of tea and a nice book in my finally finished living room!
Until our next adventure,