Monday, June 22, 2015

Never too old to learn...

I've kind of embarked on a new adventure here lately...well, it's really not an adventure so much as it is a trial of sorts. It really all started with a pair of wrens back in the early Spring...yes, in birds! We've had this pair since we moved here, they visit our front deck regularly, sit on the backs of our chairs and peer in through the slider door at us. This year these two decided they would also nest on our front deck in our barbecue grill...NOT a wise decision! We tried to relocate them, but they were having nothing to do with that and went right back and started rebuilding in that grill. Hubs came up with the idea to put an old mailbox on the railing in the hopes it would entice them to take up did! They built a fine nest, raised their babies (we got to watch them take their first flights), and we assumed moved on to whatever things wrens do once their families are raised. In the meantime, I'm looking at this battered up old mailbox and thinking, "that looks trashy!".

 As I was contemplating on how to make an eyesore a more decorative piece I remembered that once upon a time I had tried my hand at oil painting. This was in the days of Bob Ross and his "happy little clouds" and I watched him regularly and tried to recreate those clouds. It was also in the days when one of my s-n-l's had taken up oil painting and was creating some beautiful works of art on canvas, on hand saws, mailboxes, and just about anything else she could find to paint on. Between her encouragement and Bob making it look so easy I decided to give it whirl and I did manage to paint two or three "passable" pictures that now hang in my upstairs craft room.

I even managed to paint a rock that I was rather proud of and a few sycamore leaves that I framed and gave to each of my children...and passing fancy....passed! ;) I did, however, hang on to all my paints, brushes, cans, and tools just in case I ever decided I would give it another go. Twenty years later a couple of wrens jarred my memory and I pulled out those paints and brushes and decided to see what I could remember. In the process of my figuring out the artwork, I encouraged the hubs to fix me a post on which to mount the mailbox. I wanted it close to our deck, since the wrens seem to enjoy the close proximity, and I thought it might look nice incorporated into the flower bed I have along the front. Hubs did his part and now it was up to me to do mine!

Picasso or Rembrandt I am not, and I know this, but it was rather fun to try my hand at painting again and for a couple of birds who will use it for their home it works. I started with what I knew....mountains and Bob's clouds and tried to work from there. I probably should have also stopped right there, but I remembered how Bob would throw in a tree, some water, or an old dirt path and figured "what the heck"...lets do it! The outcome

wasn't too awfully bad, I could live with it, but then I got the wild idea to try something different on the other side, after all, it was for the wrens, so let's put a wren on there! Having never painted a bird, or anything remotely close to a bird, I did what all good (wanna be!) artists do....I googled it!!! ;) And there on youtube I found a video that showed me how to use acrylic paint first to add the bird and then go on top of that with oils...and of course, this guy made it look sooooo easy!! :)

But, I tried it, got something passable enough for me, let it dry, and then we mounted it to the post. The birds have not been back to even check it out!! I've since thought that perhaps that huge, glaring, representation of themselves may have scared them off...they might possibly think a much larger species has laid claimed to the mailbox and will never return worries me! Hubs did say he saw one of them the other day on the front deck, however they were checking out the new patio set's umbrella NOT the mailbox, so I may very well be covering up that mailbox before it's over with! It's a good thing we keep several cans of spray paint available around here because it may be required of me to spray paint over the top of my efforts to appease my birds!

But in the middle of this revisiting of my artistic skills I've been talking to that s-n-l who got me started in all of this in the first place and what does she tell me? " need to try watercolor"!! And of course her excitement built into my excitement and the next thing I know I'm checking clearance prices for things to get me started...I did not, however, go immediately with watercolor, I went instead with acrylics because, short of a bad background, I was kind of intrigued with my bird I had managed to paint out and I'm starting to see cream cans, milk buckets, metal signs, and all these other things I could paint....should of listened to the s-n-l!! ;)

I finally did go get some watercolor paint, but frugal, cheapo that I am I did not invest in the "real" thing. I went instead with a basic set of kids paints (on the advice of that self-same s-n-l!!) and have been trying my hand at watercolor. I did some youtube searches and found some absolutely crazy videos that once again, make this look sooooo easy to do...yes, well...perhaps if you have an inborn talent for that kind of thing it might I have a tendency to produce pictures of muddy water!! In actuality, my best one so far was done with muddy paint....seriously! I was working on something else entirely and had too much leftover acrylic paint and I couldn't stand the thought of just tossing it out, so I watered it down and throwed it around on a piece of paper...took me all of five minutes and I got a reasonable picture doing just that!! The fact that it is monochromatic doesn't bother me in the least! :) It's the ones I try to put real effort into that just become a mess!

But I will not give up quite yet...I keep thinking if someone else can throw this stuff around on paper and make it look like a picture surely I can too. I'm also waiting on that s-n-l to pick up her own brush, because she's told me she intends to do some watercolor painting, so if I can just hang on until she does I might be able get some tips and tricks from her that will make all this make sense to me. In the meantime, I'll just paint mud and be happy! I just hope this new, passing fancy of mine doesn't pass before that s-n-l decides to get on the boot, otherwise, this round may have me passing along my latest tools to her! :)