Get lost

“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!

EZ Bake

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.

And we got lost together...

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…

i did this...

“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…

41 thoughts on “Get lost

  1. Excellent work after 15 bottles of wine I must say! 🙂

    Jack & I decided that we’re getting canvas, paints, etc and doing an original piece for each other.
    No ‘perfection’, just what comes from the heart and what we feel.

    glitter is herpes …. *gigglesnort*

    • We shared the wine – 25 people over 3 hours. And we left one partially consumed bottle there. Still, we did damage! LOVE that you’re painting for each other! A gift that will always make you smile…

    • At the risk of ending a great friendship Di, I must admit that I love glitter. Though I do agree that it is the herpes of the craft world. Once in your carpet it is there for life.

      • i love glitter, too. for costuming? it is spectacular – but all glittered clothing must be bagged prior to coming into the house! it never, ever goes away!

    • i am not done with the painting. 3 hours wasn’t enough! a friend gave me suggestions on how to make the yellow ‘pop’, so i’ve got more work to do. Studley got me a basic acrylic paint kit for christmas, so i’m going to dig that out and get on it.. it was fun!

  2. Oooh. So you have yet ANOTHER talent. Consider me jealous. And of the fifteen bottles of wine too. I suspect (know) that I would have settled down to drinking and applauding the efforts of others. Both good things, just not creative things. And in the case of the first, often a destructive thing.

    • There were a few people that were self-conscious about their work, but in the end, i think we were all very happy to see what we’d produced! And many of us left with the thought “yeah, next time i’ll do it a little differently…” It wasn’t so much about what we produced – it was that we produced it…

  3. Shaved crayons… Hmmm… Smelled yummy, I’m sure. I used to belong to a group who met in an old house in the country to paint. We had fun. I painted the worst looking jug. 🙂

    • Before we figured out how to bake them in the oven, we often just cooked them in the sun on the hot driveway. It was a lot more efficient in the oven. Unfortunately, the next batch of brownies tasted a bit like “burnt siena”…

  4. I used to love to paint, I still have some of my efforts hanging on my walls. I never took it up again when I retired. I also remember being amazed at what appeared on my easel. Sadly, my efforts done stone cold sober, the toxic pigments in oil paint not being conducive to eating and drinking.

    • it could be addictive. i suspect i’ll be playing with this a bit more. rather than replicate the works of others, though, i’ve already had some thoughts on textures and things i would like to try…. we were using acrylic, not oil, so it was easier to clean up and far less toxic.

  5. Painting and drinking – sounds perfect to me. And now I have this compulsion to shave crayons and pop them in the oven. Maybe add some glitter? Love the painting you produced.

    • i love glitter. as a child, it was even worse… paste gemstones, too. shiny things are so much fun, aren’t they? and it might be interesting to combine melted wax with some paint in order to build texture. hmmm….

      • Might be easier and work better if you use wax crayons to lay the foundation, than glaze over with thinned acrylic or water colour.
        Or you could just have at it and see what happens…

  6. You are perfectly correct hen, painting is an excellent form of relaxation and a great way to sharpen up the little grey cells. I was painting a nude model yesterday when she said she was cold, so I added another coat.

    • It looked like too much wine when we arrived… but i know my friends. Actually had Studley pack three extras in his car, just in case. It’s strange, but when i do my next ‘thing’, it will likely have fabric, and odd items included, and i am thinking that some glitter might happen!

  7. Pardon my French but… that’s fucking awesome. All the way around, the wine, the pizza and the paintings. Of course i have a feeling i would have ended up with a painting of a wine bottle but that’s just me…

    • Or just drinking wine and painting the bottle. That thought occurred to me at one point… perhaps a painting of the good dr. daniels, who is my frequent companion, would be more appropriate!

    • It looks best from a distance! there has been such an overwhelming enthusiasm after this that i’m going to try to set one up for this month…. something happened when we did this! we need to do it again! only about an 8 hour drive! join us? 😉

  8. G-Darn Daisyfae, is there nothing you’re not at least a little good at? Very nicely done. We did the wine and painting thing once, but it was too structured and too fast to be really enjoyable. Your thing sounds better. The weirdest thing? We all painted the same scene, but they all looked wildly different. Except mine and the wife’s. So close to identical that it’s a good thing we signed them or we would be getting them confused.

    • when i helped rebuild the jeep, we did the paint job in a makeshift paint booth – plastic sheets hung in a garage with a paint sprayer. we called it a “Great 10 foot paint job” because it was awesome unless you got close. i’d have to say that my ‘product’ from that night was a fine “10 foot paint job” – and when i’m done with the revisions, i’m going to hang it high enough on a wall to make sure it isn’t possible to look too close…

      the artist/instructors told us up front that they would not be doing the “stroke by stroke” instruction – and i was a little freaked out by that. the end result was incredible, but i had NO idea that would happen

      strongly suggest you and The Biscuit buy some canvases and a pile of acrylic paints, get drunk on a saturday night and see what happens… you could paint a memory from your ‘roadie’ days… i would love to see that.

  9. Your painting is wonderful. I love collage and I love glitter and I don’t care if it gets into my carpet. The other day I was doing massage and noticed that there was an errant piece of glitter glowing up at me from the floor. Sometimes I even spread it around outside my front door just for the fun of it. Of course it gets tracked inside. So what? It’s not toxic and it’s pretty.

    I find that the quilting thing is a lot like collage, using fabric instead of paper, and the results are quite useful. Of course, I am in the throes of beginning another project since the baby quilt is finished now.

    Playing with art supplies beats the hell out of having your nose buried in an electronic gadget.
    Drinking wine isn’t that bad either.

    • when i was excavating downstairs i found some odds and ends from when The Girl was doing decoupage – she had clipped dozens of things from vintage magazines. Some of these blew my mind – and i decided not to put them in the ‘purge’ pile. As i think about what i want to create? These images are in the mix – and there will be glitter because i love shiny things!

      The challenge at the moment? TIME! So many things happening – things i want to do – that there simply aren’t enough hours in the day. Not going to let this slip away, though… the painting party experience triggered something. something visceral that was missing….

      Your quilt was absolutely amazing! Can’t wait to see what comes next!

    • he’s a master of verbal seduction. i believe that i’ve actually had two of his children even though we’ve never met in person. step up your game, sir! 😀

    • yes! i have a painting kit that Studley got me for Christmas that i’m going to use to finish the painting i did at the art night. but i’ve also had some ideas for other paintings that i want to try. i love ‘textured’ art. and i have an idea for incorporating some clippings from things from my past into painted works. oh, and glitter. i don’t care if it’s cheesy. i like shiny things!

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