My Sordid Art History

Don't be jealous.

Hours it took to create the masterpiece above: 2

Amount it would sell for on a premium website: $1 million 

Number of art projects I created that were or are on display in my parents’ home: 0

Last night, an artist and friend of mine was gracious enough to invite me to a Sociable Art event at our local wine store. She creates the template artwork, then you re-create the piece using your own blend of colors and take on the shapes themselves.

You may have already read what I wrote about alien feet… there is a reason I have been banned from playing Pictionary.

And naturally, when art is mentioned, my mind jumps back to the wicked cool art project we created in second grade, the clay vase. Mine was so awesome… and askew. I was going to give it to my mom for Mother’s Day. The day finally came for everyone to get the vases back after they had been fired in the kiln. The teacher called out each person’s name: “Jennifer, Jenny, Jen, Michelle, Shelley, Mary Beth, David, David, Michael, David, Dave, Jennifer.”

But she did not call my name.

She didn’t call my name because my vase no longer existed. It had met with a bad fate when the sides of the vase entered the kiln. No one told me I needed an engineering degree to design a darn vase. I never saw my vase again, not even the shards that existed for a brief moment, post-kiln.

My teacher didn’t look very apologetic. Or surprised. She gave me a look like people give grown-ups when they sing Happy Birthday really out of key: a kind of “don’t quit your day job” look.

Since subtraction and reading dumb books with illustrations of kids wearing ’50s-era clothes comprised my day job, I was kind of hoping the art gig would work out.

So anyway, the Clay Vase Episode forever scarred me.

My BFF/running partner and I headed to the wine store: her hoping for a masterpiece to hang in her dining room, me hoping I didn’t cause an international painting incident.

Unlike the way blank paper makes me feel, which is: Look at the possibilities! I can write about anything!, a blank canvas makes me feel, well, blank.

Wine helped.

We all giggled a lot at first, and then, it took every ounce of concentration to outline with paint (!). I didn’t know you could do such a thing. Didn’t the Old Masters use a number 2 pencil? The room got very quiet, full of 13 grown-up, non-artists getting up close and personal with a paintbrush.

The whole process was so calming, like when I used to sit down with my daughter and color in her coloring books. Belle and Ariel and Cinderella and I have planned out and executed some gorgeous outfits, folks.

It was also the time of evening when I tend to collapse on the couch and utter monosyllabic sounds, so I channeled my calm into my color-blending. Who knew that white wine bottles had lots of colors bouncing around? Or that bright, primary colors could blend to become so moody?

Or that so many of the colors could end up on my BFF’s hands and then, as a large red blotch on her face?

Don’t you worry. I won’t be hanging up my writing hat anytime soon.

But the best part of the whole thing is that I feel redeemed. My family didn’t laugh; my husband did not suggest that we use the canvas for a trivet. He also did not challenge me to a game of Pictionary. But when he does, he better watch out.