I have committed to an April Writing Challenge - promising myself to write each day this month.
Today's prompt - What is your hobby? Give us your expert advice so we can try it.
I have always loved to paint. Ever since I can remember. Love - love - love it.
I remember as a kid the smell of the tempera paints Sister I-can't-remember her-name used to bring to our classroom in grade school. They called it "Art on A Cart". Once a week Sister would come to the classroom and we'd create something awesome.
Long before ideas could be downloaded from Pinterest, Sister I-still-can't-remember-her-name would crank out creativity via The Art Cart.
Watercolors were also a favorite of mine and I admit I was a sucker for the paint-by-number thing-a-ma-bobs as well.
When I was ten, our Girl Scout troop was responsible for painting a fire hydrant in our town in honor of the Bicentennial celebration. Three or four of us went to town with cans of red, white and blue on the fire plug on the southeast corner of 151st and West Avenue. I was so proud every time mom cruised by in the wagon for the next few months.
Mom was into ceramics when I was younger. She went to a ceramic class once a week in the next town. She made beautiful pieces for the house. I still display the nativity set she made almost forty years ago and serve dessert on the Santa plate she also painted. There were ceramic Christmas Trees with those cool little plastic bulbs that were inserted into little holes on each branch.
When I got older, I'd paint those handprint t-shirts with the preschoolers I taught. When they were finished hand printing their masterpiece for mom, I'd have them drop a print on a spare shirt I bought - and I wore that over-sized creation with all of their hands on it - until it was in shreds from years of washing.
I often went to those pottery places that were popular several years back and painted mugs and the like. When I'd visit Arizona, my sister-in-law always planned a stop at "As You Wish", my favorite pottery place in the valley. I have a bookcase full of all the creations the kids and I made each time we'd visit.
It wasn't until the early part of the 2000s that I realized the painting thing relaxed me. I found it was good for my soul.
I spent the better part of 2002 - 2007 refinishing and painting furniture for the kids' school auction. I really had no idea what I was doing, but what I did know was it kept my mind off of my troubles. The more I painted the better I felt and the less I worried. I would dumpster dive for most of the pieces as places like Goodwill and Savers and other resale shops were few and far between.
I'd sand, strip and refinish chairs and desks and bookcases, then take them to school and have the kids put finishing touches on them. Once all the classroom projects were done, we'd work on the big items for the Live Auction. The church pews were always a big hit.
About a week before the auction I'd ride shotgun in a rented van with another mom from the school. We headed to parts of the city we had no business going to where we would find a shuttered church. And in that building we would be led to a storage room where there were desks and chairs and other office crap no one had any use for along with rows and rows of church pews that no one sat in anymore.
And then we'd get to work. Sanding, stripping and painting. The pews brought the big money and the biggest challenge.
And, then I stopped - for whatever reason - the committee changed and wanted to go in a different direction. I packed my paintbrushes away.
In the last year, I started going to those Canvas and Wine nights - where a group of us would get together at a local watering hole and paint over a drink or two.
And suddenly I was back in my element. Painting is relaxing - and something I really enjoy. Hardly an expert, I don't feel qualified to give anyone exact directions on "how to do it".
You just do.
I can give you directions on how to find a place nearby where you can meet a couple friends, toss back a cocktail and bring home a masterpiece of your own.
1. Google "Wine and Canvas" or "Paint Nite".
2. Pick a date
You'll be amazed at what you can do in three hours - and hopefully you'll find it as enjoyable as I do.
Read my other challenges this month.
April 3 - Is Work Ever Fun?
April 4 - How many Weight Watcher Activity Points Can I Earn Rolling My Eyes?
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