Painting Outside the Lines

Friday, October 31, 2014


I recently found myself in a delightful situation; surrounded by girlfriends, a cocktail in one hand and a paintbrush in the other. The white canvas in front of me felt highly inviting, especially as I knew I would have professional guidance during the mildly creative journey ahead of me. I was set to paint the Golden Gate Bridge and a particular view of it from the city that I enjoy. In fact the entire group was set to paint the Golden Gate Bridge and to do so in exactly the same way. Think painting by numbers but replace the numbers with a painting instructor who provides step by step directions.
  
To a seasoned painter the main attraction of this event would likely be the excellent Basil Gimlets served, assuming the painter in question is that way inclined. What made my day was seeing my friends’ different personalities clearly expressed through this process tailored for uniformity. It started with my highly confident girlfriend declaring that she did not want to paint the Golden Gate Bridge at all, which made perfect sense as she is not one to be told what to do! This while the rest of us were polity posed for our first step.

Another friend, who is immaculate and kind in everything she does, took the longest in completing all the steps because each paint stroke was done with amazing accuracy and the final result was impeccable. No stray lines, bleeding colors or off dimensions. Perfectly positioned sail boats and a bridge that looked like a bridge. Flawless like her homemade caramel popcorn!  In contrast the friend next to me, or rather an acquaintance I am trying to convert into a friend, added whimsical components like a whale, a few socializing seals and Prada’s World Cup boat.  She lives in a cool part of San Francisco, drives a motorcycle and works in marketing. Need I say more?

I personally added layers and layers of texture. This is basically my way of injecting quirky flair while not wandering too far off the beating path. No wales or change in theme, yet plenty of paint outside the designated lines. The result far from perfect but to quote my son; “Art does not have to be perfect!” On a side note, this particular statement followed my suggestion to trim the edges on his self-designed duct tape wallets to make them “perfect”. Schooled! When later that same evening we lined up all the paintings at my home and asked my husband to pick out mine, he immediately pointed to the right one and declared; “That textured one”. Bonus points for him and bummer for me as I am obviously not as unpredictable as I like to think!

My painting is now on display in our living room not because I can’t see that is highly flawed but exactly because it is.
“Painting is self-discovery. Every good artist paints what he is.” 
- Jackson Pollock