Wednesday, March 5, 2014

A Blue Box

Yesterday I did in fact walk away from the computer and paint. Well, first I dug around in my art supplies for a bit, looked through some blank canvases of different sizes, found my stash of decorative papers (ooh, I love them, I just don't know what to do with them. Wait. I JUST NOW had a great idea.), admired for a little while a piece of bulky, bright turquoise silk yarn (It's only a tiny bit, left over from a hat I made my sister-in-law this Christmas.  I so love that yarn. I can not tell you how much I love it. Even if it did dye my hands blue when I was knitting with it.), muttered to myself, adjusted my easel, got out my brushes. Before I knew it I was humming.

First I put up a canvas that I'd long ago painted pink all over, and then painted sky blue and cream and some darker blue and a bit of white on top, using a palette knife, so that little bits of the pink showed. I'd been very happy about it, when I first did that. So yesterday I mixed up a little of what was intended to be black paint (yes, I have a tube of "black," but I was told that black-from-the-tube paint looks flat, whereas hand-mixed black looks vibrant). It turned out more of a deep purple. I thinne it with medium, (that's stuff that looks like glue; you can also thin acrylics with water, but then they tend to drip and make your canvas wet; medium makes paint more transparent, rather than lighter in hue as it would if you mixed it with white paint) and then I sketched the Eiffel Tower in the center of my canvas.

It came out looking like the Eiffel Tower, which seemed remarkable.

Emboldened by this, I added the green bridge from Monet's garden on the right side, and some Gothic arches lightly on the left, with little smudges of royal blue meant to suggest cathedral stained glass.  I painted--again, all these were thinned with medium, so they were lightly put, with sketchy lines-- tulips across the bottom.  We spent nearly two weeks in Paris and surroundings, four years ago. One week planned and the other courtesy of a rail strike and an Icelandic volcano, that shut down all transportation entirely for five days. While we were there, spring bloomed. We especially loved the bold yellow tulips growing outside the Cathedral of Notre Dame.

I put in some soft bronze stars to remind myself of the ceilings in the Louvre, and some lilies beneath the bridge. 

It looks amazing. I can't believe it turned out this well.

Next I went online and ordered some prints of photos we took in France. My family, especially my daughter, are enthusiastic photographers, but our home printers are lousy. I'm going to decoupage the best of our photos to the canvas, and I'll have a really cool memento of our trip.

After that I took a blank canvas and splotched paint all over it, in preparation for putting another painting on top of that. Don't ask. It's how I roll.

Finally, I painted a wooden box. It's a small box, about the size of an old-fashioned cigar box, only square. It originally held very fancy truffle oil that friends gave us for Christmas. I loved the box immediately--I don't know what it is, some sort of magpie instinct,  ooh, boxes!  I could put things in them! Anyway Icovered the clasp and hinges with masking tape and painted the box cerulean blue.  This morning, instead of playing computer games, I gave the box another coat. I'm not sure what I'll do with it. I could decorate the outside, or just leave it blue. I could put my buttons in it--my current button box is nearly overflowing. I could put small toys in it and give it to one of my nephews. I could line the inside with velvet and let my daughter use it as a jewelry box.

Painting the box made me happy in a way that's difficult to explain. I felt unhurried, not aimless but the opposite of driven. As I went to wash my brushes I realized that while I was painting part of my brain, the story part, had sorted out the kinks in my new manuscript, and while I know that won't always happen, I need to remember that painting a box blue is not necessarily a waste of my time.