My very first painting. Don’t blame the school!

Most of the biggest fights I’ve ever had with my husband came down to the fact that I’m a take-charge, active person, and he’s a passive cow. (He might’ve framed these fights differently. It’s MY blog.) So after so sensitively drawing Dopey and the Oven Mitt, I was anxious to lay in some paint. I had a space above the fireplace ready for it, and I don’t like to wait. (And that’s a GOOD thing.)

Alas, class wasn’t for another week, and my drawing was still locked up in The Art Academy’s thermohygrometer-monitored (I assume) vaults. But now that I had da skillz, I could start over — I could keep moving ahead!

Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find this particular work in any of my old art history books. Instead, I searched online for something with the same clean lines, and found this:


I knew I might have trouble with the little “iStock by Getty Images,” but the rest looked pretty easy. After all, I already knew how to tone my canvas, hold my paintbrushprepare my palette, and draw with a grid. Also, I had been through childhood. I figured I got this.

So after preparing my palette and grid and drawing my lines (and holding my paintbrush!), I picked out some greys to use. (I probably would’ve gone straight for color — I don’t like to wait — but we hadn’t bought any). And I painted.

Pretty good, right?


I mean, I knew I had some trouble with the little protuberances at the bottom — that I can blame on a bad lighting situation — but my curves looked pretty good, and I even did that cool gradient thing in the sky. We hadn’t even been taught that — extra credit!!

Then I brought it to class to show Jim.

I didn’t want to be one of those little suck-ups who does extra homework and then shows it off to the teacher — I know everyone hates that kid (I was that kid). So I framed it in terms of a question I really did want to know: When would I add the protuberances? Would I actually draw in those little details, or lay them in over the top of the other paint? But really, I wanted him to praise my natural talent. (I’m still a little suck-up at heart.)

He didn’t.

Jim is a very positive person, and I could see on his face that he was struggling mightily to say something kind. “It’s really great that you’re so…enthusiastic,” he managed. “But we’ll be talking more about the right way to put down paint in tonight’s demo.” The right way. Ouch.

The fact that there was a right way, though — even for such a simple painting — was obviously news to me. In my next post, I’ll show you what it was.

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