“Add some of these green shavings first, then put the yellow on top.”
“What about putting something in it, so that it kinda floats on top when the crayons melt?”
“Yeah! A penny!”
We were about 8 years old, and intently focused on creating an objet d’art in Jenni’s Easy Bake Oven. Melting a kaleidoscopic pile of shaved crayons in the aluminum pan. We were pleased with our product, and discussed the obvious sales potential with unbridled enthusiasm. We would certainly be discovered as artists, and become international celebrities of the art world!
But it was time to go home for dinner… We didn’t realize until a few days later that we’d ruined the oven, as there was no market for Crayon-Flavored Cake.
Two decades later, i watched my daughter at her “Project Table” in the family room. Be-bopping to the music in her head, she arranged scraps of colored paper, cloth and glitter* into a collage. She spent hours and hours at her table, lost in the act of creation.
As we become responsible adults, we stop doing this… thing. We start to feel pressure to be “good” at it. We feel judged. We fear failure. We become afraid that we are “not good enough”. So we stop doing it.
We lose something. Something good.
i first learned of ‘spirited painting’, through blog pal CompuDiva. The idea is to gather a group of friends, or find a class, and spend a few hours under the gentle supervision/coaching of an instructor painting and drinking.
As luck would have it, a local art studio opened, offering classes and private parties. Arrangements were made, invitations sent, and food prepared. Last Tuesday night? Twenty five friends, and friends of friends, descended upon the studio for an evening of…
Well, most of us didn’t really know what to expect. “I’ll be there, and that’s saying something, given that I have no idea what this is all about, and the last time I painted it was my bathroom, which took three months and is the shittiest paint job ever. Pretty color though.”
Getting settled, our instructors explained the process. Some sample prints were available for inspiration, and we were welcome to work from any of the paintings in the studio. Have a favorite photo on your camera? Print it and start painting.
Some tentative, some brave. We just started. An eclectic mix of friends – i wasn’t sure how the interactions would go. Biker divas. High school friends. My new boss and a few other work colleagues. Breast cancer broads. Rabid cycling enthusiast with artistic tendencies.
This thing… happened. We weren’t worried about being judged. About being good. We just started doing. We got lost together. We smiled. We encouraged each other.
Oh, and we destroyed fifteen bottles of wine and the better part of three pizzas.
Somehow at the end of the evening? This was on my easel. i’m not sure how it got there. i’d been pretty lost for the previous three hours…
“We don’t stop playing because we get old. We grow old because we stop playing.”
* A friend of mine refers glitter as “the herpes of the craft world.” i would have to agree with that assessment. That shit gets EVERYWHERE and there is no cure…