The Magic 8-Ball Was Wrong

One day last year, when I was trying to work on my creative goals and having all kinds of trouble getting started, I happened to be playing with a Magic 8-Ball at my daughter’s house. I was feeling frustrated with every creative activity I tried, particularly painting, so I said to the Magic 8-Ball, “Will I ever paint a picture that I actually like?”

“Outlook not so good,” said the Magic 8-Ball.

“Oh, great!” I thought, “Even the Magic 8-Ball is against me.”

I knew the Magic 8-Ball was hardly infallible, but it was still discouraging. My daughter said it just meant that I was hypercritical of my own work. According to her, I was painting nice things but I was my own worst critic. The Magic 8-Ball wasn’t saying that I would never paint a good painting; it was saying that I was impossible to please. Either way, it did not bode well for my happiness.

I tried not to take it to heart. The Magic 8-Ball is just a toy, after all, not a sacred oracle. There was only one painting required by my first year blog goals, anyway. I could do that painting and celebrate its completion, whether or not I was actually pleased with the result. I didn’t know then that my heart would turn toward painting in my second blog year.

The pull was strong and would not be ignored. It was what I had been hoping and praying for that whole first year – that one of the creative things I tried in that year would open my closed heart and shine a light into my soul. My soul had been feeling tired and dark and cold for a lot of years. I was hoping to get a little fire going, somehow.

Honestly, I did not have high hopes. It was a surprise to me that it worked. It was even more of a surprise that the one thing I most wanted to do at the end of it was paint. I remembered the Magic 8-Ball but I still wanted to paint. I’ve been doing it now for six weeks and most of my attempts have been disappointing, but I have not wanted to give up. I have just wanted to keep trying.

I painted a tiny painting this week, just to make sure there would be something to blog about.

One Tomato

One Tomato


Cute, isn’t it? Once it was done, I took another look at the fruit and flowers I bought earlier and decided to rearrange them and paint them again. I cut down one of the sunflower stems and put the sunflower in a small jar. I put the jar behind the plate of pears and put them all against a blue background. What surprised me about this painting was that I liked the way the plate turned out.
Sunflower with Pears

Sunflower with Pears


The next day, I saw that two of the sunflowers had wilted, but two of them were still in pretty good shape. I took the two good ones and cut the stems a bit shorter and put them in the jar. I set the pears aside and just painted the sunflowers.
Two Sunflowers

Two Sunflowers


It was when I finished this one that I knew the Magic 8-Ball was wrong. I like this painting.

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8 thoughts on “The Magic 8-Ball Was Wrong

  1. sarahcotchaleovitch

    At first I thought you were going to say the 8-Ball was wrong about the weather this week. 😉 My favorite painting is definitely the last–love the flower with the bent petals and the water.

    Reply
  2. fairywebmother

    I love them ALL! I’ve been getting the itch to try some still lifes. What I REALLY want is to be back in NOLA painting on the street. En plein air, is calling me. I sure wish we could paint together … with Sarah. We could give each other tips, as we paint. How’s it going with the matte medium?

    Reply
  3. releaf1954 Post author

    Man, it would be great if we could all get together and paint en plein air! I try the medium every time I paint, but I don’t think I have the hang of it yet. What I have on hand is thick gel medium. I want to try flow medium. I found a couple of fluid acrylics (the ones in the little jars)on clearance and I’m enjoying those a lot.

    Reply
  4. LadyGrave

    I love the one with the sunflower and the pears; the shadows on the plate and the overlap with the sunflower vase give it a really good sense of depth. And awesome job with the sunflower petals on the bottom one!

    Reply

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