I’ve been thinking about new goals for my second blog year and I’ve decided that fifty things in a year is a pretty reasonable goal. The difference, this year, is that I want to do fifty paintings. That will average out to about one per week and that seems doable. I may not do one every single week. That would be ideal, but I will consider the challenge met if I do fifty before I turn sixty-one, even if I end up cramming half of them into the last few weeks before my birthday.
That doesn’t mean I won’t be doing other creative things. I hope I will be doing lots of different things, but I want to put some real time and effort into learning to paint. I’m a little bit afraid of this commitment. I fear I might paint and paint and paint and never improve. It’s that fear that has stopped me, every other time I’ve thought about learning to paint. I don’t want to let it stop me this time. No one is born knowing how to hold a brush or mix colors. There are things that can be learned, but not if I stop trying after one disappointing attempt.
I want to learn what I can learn. Maybe it will be a little; maybe it will be a lot. I’ll never know if I don’t try. I will have to tell the perfectionist part of me to hush up and let me try. I’ve been wanting to paint since I was a teenager and I have let a lot of years go by without giving myself permission to start out by doing it badly. I have to start where I am, with tools and desire, but no skills. I have to practice. If it were possible to acquire skills just by reading books and magazines about painting, I would have mad skills already.
No, I’m going to have to actually pick up a brush and paint. That’s what I want to do in my sixty-first year. I want to thumb my nose at the fear of painting badly, and just paint anyway. I want to keep painting, even when the painting in front of me doesn’t look anything like the actual thing I’m trying to paint or the imaginary masterpiece in my head.
Which is definitely the case with this first painting of my sixty-first year. I was at the grocery store and I went into the produce department and picked up the first pretty fruit that caught my eye: two colorful mangoes. I took them home and set them up on a piece of hand-dyed blue fabric and I tried to capture them on canvas with acrylic paints. Here it is. It’s a painting. I painted.
On the upside, I have finished using these mangoes as models. Now we can eat them.