January 09, 2006

Christmas Presents

You thought Christmas was long over by this point, right? Yes, we've gotten everything cleaned up, packed away and we've even taken the loudest, most annoying toys off to Goodwill already.

I'm talking about what I got for Christmas -- lots of lovely things including pjs and slippers from the kidlets, a new cookbook, a new CD, and some other lovely things. The best and most thoughtful gift came from Santa, or that's what the note said. I think my husband may have had something to do with it though.

I got a beautiful wooden easel, oil paint, a few brushes and a couple of canvases. The whole thing is gorgeous. I hardly dare to touch it. Except, I'm dying to start a project and dive into painting something.

There is the rub. I haven't done an oil painting in about eleven years. Whatever I start with is bound to be in the mediocre to crummy range. The last things I did in oil were still life compositions, which are good practice, but not particularly fun. Painting, like any skill you want to get good at, takes time and patience, which I have in short supply.

What to do? Where to start? If someone handed you a blank canvas, what would you fill it with?


I did not get one and my fingers are itching!
I paint what bring me joy, though I have never ever worked in oils. What a wonderful present!

Posted by: Blair at January 9, 2006 10:36 PM

We were reading Gary Paulen's picture book "The Tortilla Factory", which has gorgeous illustrations (by his wife) done in oils: piles of smudgy golden corn, faded pink stucco buildings, brown workman's hands. Nothing detailed, but the colors! Oh, to have that skill!

Posted by: Meredith at January 9, 2006 10:46 PM

Jordana, years ago, more years than 10 I used to do a lot of painting (acrylics). And this year I also got a surprise -- a watercolor set with instruction booklet, lovely paper, and all those muted browns, sennas, that make the loveliest landscapes. So first I tried a complex landscape with people and horses. It was frustrating and discouraging. Way too complex. So I extracted a portion of a simple landscape from a photo I had on the computer, and using a computer program I reduced it to basically browns and blues, dappled the colors like a Van Gogh, and now I'm anxious to start. I'm going to have a ball with the colors and this will allow me to avoid the stress of too much perfection in my art rather than real enjoyment. Of course, if I could paint like you do I would sit down and paint whatever stuck my fancy (even a sheer drape on a window or dew on the flowers) but I'm forced to start at the very beginning and I expect that is where I'll be for a while.

Posted by: Roberta S at January 10, 2006 03:29 AM

Well, if it were me, I'd probably fill it with dreck, since I draw like a five year old. Come to think of it, I draw WORSE than a 5YO, as my oldest child has far more artistic ability than I do.

I suspect I'd just fill it with corn chips and salsa, but maybe that's because Meredith mentioned tortillas.

Posted by: skinnydan at January 10, 2006 10:52 AM

A regional Arts/crafts chain is closing its local store. The art supplies are half priced. I saw a French easel marked to $50. I have no need for one but the original price was 220-marked down to 199—marked to 99 then to 50. I got it for $25. I couldn’t turn it down even if I give it away. Being a bargaining hunter and cheap is a terrible affliction.

Posted by: jim at January 10, 2006 02:50 PM