[dropcap]I[/dropcap]n 2011 (I think…) I managed to bag myself a tidy 100% at GCSE for Art. Please, hold your applause. After a bit of a fiasco involving a bit of an annoying art department and some petty disputes, that GCSE was to be my last qualification in the arts. Seriously, I swapped Art A Level for History just to spite the department for something. I don’t regret it, but that B in History AS would have looked a lot shinier as a nice A* for A2.
Anyway, swings and roundabouts, init?
What we’ve learnt from this little story is that I am incredibly petty and tend to hold grudges against whole departments of people. It’s lovely to meet you.
So that was basically the last time I did anything creative. I’m semi-lying. I’ve been head of Visual Design at uni two years in a row, done loads of scenery painting for plays and stuff, drawn a few things in conté, you know the drill. But I haven’t really got out my stuff and had a nice chill time just messing about with paints.
This may be because painting isn’t really my thing, and I much prefer conté. It’s like a super heavy charcoal but not smudgey. Basically I just like drawing big black lines.
But it’s also because I just haven’t wanted to. I tend to put off doing things I know I won’t be very good at. It’s actually a menace, and something I’ve spoken to counsellors about a number of times. I don’t like to do something if I won’t automatically be good at it. It’s a bit of a vicious cycle because the longer I wait to restart something, the worse I get at it.
Hence, here we are, almost seven years later, and I bought myself a paint set and picked up a brush for what feels like the first time ever.
So I’m not writing this to be like wow look how great I am at painting because I’m quite clearly not. This was my first attempt to paint anything in seven years, and I hate the paper I have so have had to do a quick Amazon Prime order for paper I’ve used and trust. Still, I’m happy with it.
And the reason I’m happy about it isn’t that it’s great and I’m a 21st century Michelangelo. I’m happy about it because it felt so nice. I started painting at around 8pm, and the next time I looked at the clock it was midnight and I hadn’t even checked my phone. I’d painted, in silence, for four hours. Can you even imagine that?
PAINTING IS GOOD FOR THE SOUL
Instead of A Level Art, I took History of Art. I loved it. I loved every second of it. My teacher was the most inspiring woman I have ever met, and had such genuine passion for her subject that I was hard to forget any of the things she taught us. Ask me anything from the A2 and AS course and I’ll definitely still be able to tell you all about it. I even bagged a nice 86 in a uni history of art essay in my first year because of her.
She is one of the few people who I can truly say changed my life. Lol, so lame.
Anyway, obviously in that course we covered fab people like Van Gogh and Munch and all those other great artists that used their creativity as an outlet for whatever was tearing them up inside.
Now, I’m not saying I’m feeling the same kind of stuff as those two greats up there, but there’s something about painting that soothes anything. Tired? Have a play with some paint. Happy? Explore the brighter colours of your paint set! Anxious? Get it all out there.
Painting is just nice, whether you’re good at it or the world’s worst (I’m looking at you, Ollie.)
I imagine this is what people must feel about getting lost in books. I’ve never been a big reader and so can never quite relate to a lot of the passion that goes into reading an excellent book (other than my spectacular love of Harry Potter, ofc). I tend to have trouble sticking to books if they’re not grabbing me enough, and rarely finish books that I don’t consider to be perfect.
You’re all judging me now. ‘How can you write if you don’t read?!’ you scream.
Whatever. Why read about someone else’s made up reality if you can just make your own, how you want it?
Painting is a distraction that results in something creative. It results in a tangible object that is yours, and is a reminder of what you can achieve and who you are. No two paintings are the same, and no two artists are the same. Painting is completely yours, and yours alone.
And, most of all, it makes you feel good. x