Stick figure art was my thing, stick arms, legs, little stick fingers and toes, and a head that looked like a poorly crafted smiley face. I never really progressed from those most basic attempts in grammar school. Like music I believed it was just something for which I had no aptitude. I was always impressed with someone who could doodle on the back of a notebook and come up with something artistic. I tried, but it always ended up a mess.
My wife at one point took an art class, she came home crying. I said her picture was great although unusual, we framed it and put on the wall. To be honest, it was better than anything I ever did. Rembrandt was in no danger. We laughed about it and that was that. I don’t think it would be cruel to put her artistic talents in the same category as mine. Until I came across acrylic painting videos on YouTube.
I was mesmerized. The things these people can do with a few tubes of paint, a couple of brushes and a small spatula type instrument is amazing. A beginner video runs anywhere from 10-15 minutes and most of these paintings are of landscapes, ocean scenes or florals. The video thumbnail shows the finished product and throughout the process I kept wondering how they were going to get there. Of course they did. Every second, to me at least, was engrossing. It is no surprise that several of these YouTube artists have hundreds of thousand followers and multimillion views. There is seldom verbal instruction, just a view of a canvas while the artist does their thing to soft background music. You will get what they are doing.
Armed with technique it was time to give art another try. I went to the local hobby store and bought 5 tubes of paint, black, white, red, yellow and blue along with a set of cheap brushes. Entire cost was around $25. The first surfaces I painted were some old 1” pine boards that I cut into 8”x 8” squares. I have to say that the finished product, after a couple of false starts, turned out far better than I expected. There is an example above.
What I have come to enjoy most about painting is the almost meditative immersion in the process. It takes you away from the world for a while, very relaxing. I have since bought a box of 10 small canvases on sale for $10. To date my total investment is well under $50. I don’t pull out my supplies often, but I know that when I need an escape from my writing or cable news they are there. As stated, art had never been my thing. I doubt that anyone will ever be interested in buying anything I have done. That is not why I do it. I do it because the exercise is so enjoyable and I can look at a completed project and to my surprise think “not bad, not bad at all.”
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A couple of the youtube art channels I enjoy.
Jay Lee Painting