I recently participated in an event at the local art center. The goal of this particular evening was to learn how to paint a picture. Each attendee was encouraged to bring a snack to share and a beverage (adult or otherwise).
Upon entering the building I sensed excitement.
Whether this was in anticipation of sampling the items on the heavily laden food and beverage table or the thought of learning to paint is anyone’s guess. I went to socialize. To laugh and have a good time. I held out very little hope that I would be able to paint anything recognizable. I consider myself to be cautiously optimistic about most things-but this activity pushed the limits of my positive outlook.
Fortified with sustenance we were encouraged to find a seat. The teacher, once introduced, assured us that she could teach us to paint a picture of a poppy and pointed to her example. She told us that she taught art to elementary aged children. That didn’t inspire. I didn’t learn to paint when I was in elementary school.
Once I started sketching in the flower my suspicions were confirmed. Disaster! But at least there was laughter and wine.
I had ABSOLUTELY no hope that I would come away with anything other than a bunch of blobs on a canvas.
Something really funny happened that evening. I became aware of my self-talk and that of the women around me. It made me realize the perfection for which we strive. People began erasing their lines. One woman berated herself throughout the entire process. Have you had the experience of someone acting out a behavior going on in your own head? I heard her verbalizing my thoughts. It was at this point I said to myself (not out loud), “Nope! Going to live in the moment here, enjoy this and if the canvas looks like poop, so be it.”
Halfway through I realized that my picture actually was starting to look like an honest to goodness flower for crying out loud. I laughed out loud and just kept painting and laughing.
The friend I came with painted a nice picture but then she wouldn’t leave it alone. She kept adding to it. A dab of paint here. A smudge there. Before long she was unhappy with it.
When I got home my hubby (Man Of My Dreams) asked me who gave me their painting. I texted a photo of it to a few family members. Everyone asked the same question, “Who gave you their painting?” I assured my husband and the others that I had indeed painted it. Man Of My Dreams got a hammer and a nail and hung it in my office.
This is my finished poppy. I’m not anticipating any job offers from a Horticulture Photo Magazine but it resembles a flower, right?
The lessons I learned that night were invaluable:
Listen to my self-talk. Progress not perfection.
Live in the moment.
Try something new.
Give the painting back to my friend (Just kidding).
And finally, a real aha moment! Why would I think I could even come close to the teacher’s expertise in a 2 hour session? She went to college for years to study Art Education and has been doing this for decades.
How is your self-talk?