Into the Garden
Florals, flowers...I love flowers. I love them so much in fact at one time was an ardent gardener. I personalized my license plate to reflect my obsession, it read grdnnut, my email was firstname.lastname@example.org, it still is. For sixteen years I devoted my spare time and artistic energies to gardening. The property my husband and I owned in Virginia was new construction & barren of all plant life. It was my mission to convert that thick red clay soil into a fertile and beautiful oasis. So I amended soil, I planted, I moved rocks, I cut down thorn bushes, I sowed seeds, planted bulbs. I planted shrubs and trees, I made pathways and walkways, dug out giant rocks and re-planted them as stepping stones. I grew flowers & vines, berries, fruit and vegetables. I created beauty. I did this for years, and during all this time, I didn't paint. I think all my artistic energy went into my gardens. Around 2006, as I looked at my now overflowing and colorful gardens, I thought I should paint the gardens. I decided I was going to be the "modern day Monet". Into the far corners of the basement I went in search of my college art supplies. I found a sheet of Strathmore student watercolor paper, some dried up generic paints and two small brushes. Yay! Out to the gardens I went so excited for my next adventure in life. I wet the paint and started to put pigment to paper...umm...hmm...how about a little paint here...no, that's not right...how about some green...oh no, that wont do at all...I realized I had forgotten how to paint. The result was most certainly no Monet and there may or may not have been a temper tantrum and a tearing up of paper. Only the birds and squirrels know for sure and they have been bribed to secrecy with berries and nuts ;)
So what do I do now? I was dejected. The gardens were overwhelming and I didn't have the skills to be able to create with my hands what my imagination was seeing. Depressed I looked down, at my feet was a weed, a lonely little weed with a pretty white flower. Hmmm, I thought, if I can't be "Monet the painter of gardens" I can be Judy painter of weeds. That's it, I will be the best weed painter ever! So I ignored the giant colorful garden and got to painting my white weed with my teeny tiny brush. It took me two hours, but I did it.
I was so proud of my little weed painting that I wrote about it on my blog. I got up the nerve to post a photo, this was of course the days before social media. I think I had two followers, one of them being my mother. I actually got a response from somebody and it wasn't from my mother. "Good Job" the follower said. I was flabbergasted. Then He said, "can you paint sunflowers". "Yes, yes" I answered "I can paint sunflowers"... knowing full well I didn't know if I could paint sunflowers. The only thing I had painted in 16 years had been a teeny tiny weed. Oh my!! what had I gotten myself into!?! I went to the store and bought some real watercolor paper, arches, to this day my favorite paper. I took my big brush, size 1 ;) and I painted a sunflower.
It took two days. I posted my sunflower for my other follower, that wasn't my mother, to see. He liked it, he liked it so much in fact that he wanted to buy it. I was over the moon! Something I painted was going to go live in the world, somebody liked what I did enough to give me money for it. Guess what happened next?! He asked for two more, he wanted 3, THREE sunflower paintings!!! I was going to be a commissioned artist, I was going to be famous, I WAS going to be the new Monet, painter of flowers! I painted, this time it only took one day and I painted two. "I'm getting better" I arrogantly thought to myself......................