Posting on walls

We’re so used to posting on Facebook walls that it’s become part of our social lexicon to talk about writing on walls – as if it’s a normal, natural part of what we do now. Which, I suppose, it is. My mom is a talented mural and fine artist, and always joked that she had a hard time telling her kids (and grandkids) not to draw or write on walls when it was how she made her living! Fortunately she is now a full-time teacher and telling kids (whether her own or others) what to do and what not to do is becoming easier and easier every day :).

Recently, I have been overtaken by a desire to draw and paint. I can’t really explain it, since I have an extremely creative job, requiring masses of design and writing work. Even so, the urge to pick up a pencil, sketch an object, then bring it to life with a few well-placed brush strokes is becoming harder and harder to resist.

Sadly, I have had very little practice. The truth is that I have next-to-no technical skill whatsoever. I know I can see, which all the best artists (and their books) tell me is the main ingredient. I know this because I can easily copy most line drawings. I have a good sense of colour (which is a necessity for my work), and I can shade and light images without a hassle. The problem comes with technique. I have no idea which paint or brush to use for which application, nor how they should be applied. I have a lot of experience with fabric paint, but recently discovered that I’d been doing it wrong all along. (Too much water. I like a soft, graded look, rather than the traditional, flat, bold colour look associated with fabric painting).

Part of this is the result of inappropriate or non-existent materials. I don’t have oil paints or accessories. I only have cheap, art-set-y water colours and the brushes that come with those. Actually, I do have some nice brushes, truth be told. I have acrylic paints but no training in their use. And I don’t have nice paper.

What I do have is an abundance of walls and a gracious landlord.

I’ve been promising my girls a mural since before they were born. My talented mom had created one for their room when I was pregnant with Goldilocks, but that room (and my mom) is 600km away now. The painting took some time to complete so it’s never been practical to ship the artist down for a redo – especially with us moving all the time. And besides, wanted to paint. Recently the girls and I decided (rather spontaneously) to use the inside cover of one of their favourite books, All These Things, as the source material for their wall. And this weekend, sneakily, while they were in the bath, I painted it onto the wall. What fun!

All these things: title page
All these things: title page

Love is kind and patient. Never jealous, boastful, proud or rude. Love isn’t selfish or quick-tempered. It doesn’t keep a record of wrongs that others do. Love rejoices in the truth, but not in evil. Love is always supportive, loyal, hopeful and trusting. Love never fails.

~ 1 Cor. 13:4-8

I know that acrylic paint is probably not the right thing for this purpose, and I’m sure a mural should never take just an hour-and-a-bit to complete. But the girls absolutely loved it, and I felt thoroughly satisfied. Red even claimed that she would feel “much more comforted at night” looking at this picture. As the English say, “Bless”.

I think the words will remind all of us of what is truly important in life.

(Now the girls want their own art on their bedroom walls, too. What shall I do? Watch this space to see how it all unfolds …)

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