I was really hoping to begin this journey off with a strong start, but the final product from tonight’s artistic endeavour suggests otherwise.

Recently, my brother and his best friend bought a storage unit, and as we were digging through the “treasures” we found an acrylic paint set. None of us were too excited about this particular find, seeing as no one in my family can paint, so we boxed them up right away. I completely forgot about them until I started this blog, and realized that acrylic painting would be a great first artistic endeavour! Or so I thought.

After rummaging through the mountain of boxes, I finally tracked down the set and rearranged my whole desk into a newspaper-covered painting paradise. Instead of painting on paper, I decided it would be more fun to paint a wooden picture frame instead.

Transforming my desk from a normal student desk to a painters paradise!
Transforming my desk from a normal student desk to a painting paradise!

I started rummaging through the paints and soon realized that the set consisted of zero paint brushes. I’m a little embarrassed to admit that I didn’t even think of paint brushes beforehand, but I had assumed that where you find paint, you also find brushes. Obviously I was wrong.

After a mini panic attack, I settled on some never used makeup brushes. Because they’re like paint brushes, but for your face, right? This should have been the moment where I stopped and really considered whether or not I had any potential for painting.

Regardless, I sat down, feeling a little hopeful from my makeup brush discovery, and was about to start when another alarming thought crossed my mind: “What do I paint?” I knew I wanted to paint a picture, but of what? I had planned to use the paints, and I knew what I was going to be painting on, but the actual image of what I would paint never crossed my mind.

This was the moment when I actually realized I was completely out of my comfort zone. Never mind the brush mishap, I’m telling myself it happens all the time, but how could I not even think of what image I wanted to paint?

The words “abstract” and “concrete” came to mind, but then I realized I don’t even know what they mean in a painting context. So I began to wonder, where do artists find inspiration?

My friend Kelsey was on her way over to keep me company, and I decided to start there. Kelsey and I spent this past year travelling Australia and New Zealand together, and reminiscing on our trip seemed like the perfect opportunity for inspiration. I pulled up photos of my favourite places we had travelled, and decided I would try and paint some mountains from one of my favourite places in New Zealand.

Lake Matheson aka my inspiration
Lake Matheson, one of my favourite places in NZ

I didn’t realize how ambitious that was until I began. Between the makeup brushes, the lack of skill, and the lack of knowledge about anything regarding paint, I have to admit I did not do a great job. At all.

I sat there staring at my “mountain”-covered picture frame and wondered if I was wasting my time with this whole blog. I did put effort into it, and I did honestly want to make it something visually appealing, but it did not turn out how I wanted. I can’t say I’m extremely surprised, but I was a little disappointed.

And then I realized that the picture frame itself isn’t what is most important to me about tonight’s endeavour. I just spent a couple hours catching up with one of my best friends, while also being able to do something I haven’t done in ages. I honestly can’t remember the last time I picked up a paint brush (probably because I don’t own any, as I discovered tonight) but it was actually fun doing something that I don’t usually do.

By committing to this particular artistic endeavour, I was able to give myself the opportunity to have fun and forget about life for a moment. It wasn’t the outcome I was expecting, and I didn’t discover any hidden skill, but I did have a good time with a great friend doing something that I would try again (if properly prepared, of course).

By now you all know that I have zero artistic experience, and I could be completely wrong here, but I would like to think that it’s also about the process for some artists as well. Yes, the final product is what sells and what catches peoples attention, but for the artist perhaps the process of creating is equally significant.

It could be a process of discovery for some, or a moment of happiness for others, but tonight I learned the benefit of completely immersing yourself in anything you do, regardless how well you do it.

My beautiful best friend pretending I can paint well