My Imaginary Life as a Painter

This week, I started the The Artists Way, and one of my first assignments was called “Imaginary Lives”. Part 1 of this exercise was to think of five imaginary lives. What would I do (career wise) if I was not doing what I do now?

The first things that came to my mind were:

  • Pop singer
  • Astrologist
  • Writer
  • Painter
  • Vegetable Farmer

The vegetable farmer is weird, I know. I have always thought that maybe in a past life, I was a vegetable farmer. I get up early and go to bed early, like a farmer, even though I live in the city that never sleeps. I love vegetables and I am not a huge fan of animals. I am not sure if I really want to GROW vegetables, but this popped in to my head so on a subconscious level, maybe I do!

Part 2 of this exercise was to actually DO something related to one of these lives during the week. At first I thought I had to do ALL of them and I was like F&^*!!! I don’t have time for that. But just one, I thought I could manage.

I thought about corralling someone to go sing karaoke with me but I had a super busy week so I just couldn’t swing it.

Astrologer and writer were too easy because I am already doing both of those on a regular basis. (I know I haven’t written much about astrology yet, but I will!)

Painter came to mind because I had just seen a movie where a woman was painting and I thought “that looks like such a relaxing way to spend the day.” Growing up, I used to do paint-by-numbers all the time. I liked it because it had structure to it (open this paint color and paint where you see this number) but was also kind of creative. But paint-by-numbers take a really long time. You have to paint one color at a time and wait for it to dry. Its a process. (I should also note that my mother was a painter. I don’t remember her being particularly relaxed or un-relaxed about it but she made the most beautiful paintings. They far surpassed my paint-by-numbers of course, but she never rubbed my nose in it. Thanks mom!)

The plan at this point was to either paint or buy a plant.

I googled “tiny paint-by-number” and I found this! A super tiny Bob Ross paint by numbers kit. Score!!!! (This box fits in my hand. It’s tiny.)

The website said was in stock at my local Barnes & Noble so I ran out in the freezing cold to pick it up. If you haven’t been to an actual bookstore recently, you might not remember how hard it is to find something there. It is A LOT easier to order stuff online. But, I like to “buy local” when I can, and I was in a rush. I stopped at three information booths that steered me in the wrong direction. When I asked guy #4 at Barnes & Noble, he told me that he had wanted a Bob Ross bobblehead, and although he knew it was in stock, even HE could not find it in the store, so he ordered it on-line. (True story). BUT since his personal failed quest, he had one more idea of a place he hadn’t checked, and we found it. If you want one (and after you see how amazing mine turned out, you might), check the “spinner” near the check out isle at your local Barnes & Noble. (You’re welcome.)

Below, you can see all of the supplies that come with the “Bob Ross by the Numbers” kit: three super tiny “canvases”, paint, a brush, instructions, and an easel (to display your art on your desk when its finished).

When I read the instructions, I learned that I was going to ,have to mix my own colors. I panicked a little bit. This was supposed to be an easy, quick slam dunk. I was tired and had a headache and that just seemed hard. But I always do my homework and as one of my inspirational heroes Glennon Doyle says “we can do hard things”, so I pressed on.

My first attempt was the actual picture of Bob Ross painting. I did have some issues with the color mixing (Bob’s hair should be a little darker and the sky should be a little lighter) but it’s not too bad, it really WAS relaxing!

I was pretty sure I could so better so I took on one more painting (and miraculously my headache was gone!) I think painting #2 is kind of a masterpiece, don’t you think? Have you ever seen a more beautiful 3 inch by 2 inch painting? Are you not impressed with the dark and light purples I had to mix on my own using blue, red, and white? And what about the various shades of green? FYI, I learned from experience that to get dark green, you should mix in dark blue, not black. (Again, you are welcome for all of the knowledge I am sharing with you today.)

I am definitely happy that I went the extra mile to complete my assignment this week. I may seem like a small thing (no pun intended), but it felt so good to tune out and use my brain in a different way for a few hours. I had a long list of stuff I wanted to do this weekend, but I made the time for this creative endeavor and it was relaxing and fun! I impressed myself with my creative skills, and I think mixing my own colors counts as leaving my paint-by-number comfort zone, for sure.

The bonus of this activity was that it killed two birds with one stone. As part of the Artists Way, I also have to do an artist date every week. An artists date is “a block of time where you are committed to nurturing your creative consciousness.” Done and done. I do like to be efficient!

My Year of Creativity is off to a great start!

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