One of the scariest things I’ve ever done is paint on canvas. I’m not professionally trained, and the thought of painting anything so permanent was daunting. However, put a craft in front of me, and my fingers itch to try it. I learned two things the day I put paint to canvas: One, it’s a lot less scary than it looks, and two, it’s a surprisingly affordable way to be creative.
Here’s the thing: I’m no Bob Ross. I only know about two people who are. Painting on canvas seemed like such a big deal. It’s canvas, after all! What if I messed up? What if I had no talent? After a pep talk from a good friend who’d already taken the plunge into canvas, I shakily spread my base color on the stretched fabric. And guess what? It was magical! Sure, I was just painting a background color, but this was proving to be something I could be proud of, something I could display, something I could potentially excel at. Plus, it turns out you can paint over any and all mistakes you make! Many artists, and not just modern ones, use and reuse canvases after a layer of primer has evened things out.
What was I so afraid of? Just like in life, there’s always a chance of making a mistake, but there’s always the opportunity to make it right. I went from uncertain to undaunted in a matter of seconds. This canvas made me feel powerful, confident and ready to face anything. And I think we could all use a little more of that.
Having mastered my fear, I quickly found a love for my acrylic paints. The only problem was the craft store’s price point. It’s hard to be freely creative at nearly $50 per blank canvas panel and $5 per tube of color. There had to be a solution, and darn it, I was going to find it! My solution came, as many surprisingly do, at my neighborhood Wal-Mart. Their craft section had just what I needed: $0.50 tubes of paint and economy packs of canvas for a third of one canvas at the craft store, not to mention the selection of brushes available at that “shop smart” price point. I knew I was no professional and that my work wasn’t going to be displayed anywhere other than my own home and maybe those of my friends, so getting a bargain to explore my new passion was just what I needed.
This turned into one of the most amazing projects I’ve undertaken – one painting a month for 12 months. These hang in my home, and every time I look at them, I can see my progression and my confidence bloom as the months progress. Thank goodness for the affordable outlet as I was doing this while caring for a new baby as well! Plus, whenever I want to share my work with friends and family, I know I can get a really high quality and affordable print through Overnight Prints, which keeps me both on budget and proud of my work.
So what’s the takeaway? Am I going to be a professional painter one day? Highly unlikely. Have I learned not to underestimate myself and to find resources that suit my needs? Definitely. Plus, adding a little confidence to one’s palette now and then has never been a bad thing.
Jessica Valentine is the spouse of Degory Valentine, customer experience manager, OvernightPrints.com.