How to Start Painting

I was always an artist. At heart. But I was never one in real life, until one day it just happened, through no fault of my own! There I was, minding my own business, when Color and Canvas decided to become my playpen pals.

 

– What’s Painting Got to Do with It? –

 

I was always an artist. At heart.

I was a writer, I was a poet, but I didn’t even try to hold a brush in my hand for the largest part of my life. Until one day, when I figured out I literally had no other interest other than maybe reading and cats and I decided to start painting and go buy myself a canvas, brushes and paint.

So, during a very rainy bleak day in March, which seemed just perfect for my new idea, I went to this quaint little art store in the city center with absolutely no idea what I wanted to buy. I got in: it was that kind of small dusty store that has just a bit of everything, but nothing much of any, in the historic part of town. So I told the clerk the story exactly as it was: I want to start painting – what do I need? Of course everything in the store could have served that purpose so she was as confused as I was. However, there was this one more guy in there, who heard me and immediately happily jumped at the opportunity to help – he was an old painter, elated to see somebody else just dive into the unknown. I was also happy to receive his help. He told me everything he knew about how I could begin, but advised me to start small, with just the bare necessities. So I left with the very basic: 5 pieces of cardboard (because they were cheaper than canvas), a very basic set of brushes and acrylic paint – the primary colors: red, yellow and blue, and also black and white: a skimpy painter starting kit.

Why I chose to try painting of all things was unclear at the time, and I didn’t even give it much thought, really, but it got obvious the moment i got my loaded brush close to the canvas. The attraction between the canvas and myself was magnetic. Something inside me was making me do it and drawing me close to the color and to expressing myself with color. Of course, in the beginning I didn’t know that’s what I was doing. It was just fun and it got so fun that I started to spend a lot of time alone with this new thing I found. It was that piece that was missing from my life. The cardboard turned into canvas, more and more canvas, the paints got very diverse the moment I realized some of the colors I wanted to use could not come out of the mixture of the 3 primaries. Such as magenta. You cannot mix anything to get magenta! I knew from the start I loved color and the act of painting. Eventually I started to give up on the paintbrushes, they seemed more and more useless as long as I had my fingers. It was clear to me that it was not just a pastime.

However, nothing major happened until I discovered something else behind the act of painting, behind the abstract and inside the color, something bigger and deeper coming from within. It was the universe running its energy through me and putting the acrylic onto the canvas. I felt grand and at the same time so small, but exactly where I was supposed to be in this relationship. A few years later, I am still an artist (at heart), but this time one that is aware where this is coming from. What has painting done for me? Nothing. Except teaching me who I am when I am nobody.

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