…is the devil’s workshop.
We recently uprooted ourselves and moved to a new city. I’m in my mid-thirities and this is the seventh time I’ve gone through this over the course of my life, each time having lived in one place for five years or more. You’d think by now I’d have gotten a hang of it, but the experience is a lot more complex and deeper than one that you can just get used to doing over and over again. There’s the sweet beckoning of the unchartered, mixed with the gentle tug of family and familiarity. Atleast this time I didn’t cry over it, I might be over it – crying, that is.
The reason this artwork exists is because I moved out of my home. There was no space for all of my art supplies in our temporary accommodation and the pressure of having to choose only a few in such a short span of time was a bit too much for me to handle along with everything else. The day after we moved into the new place, we happened to pass by an arts and crafts kiosk. That’s when I felt a firm hold on my hand, who could it be other than he who freaks out everytime we are out shopping together! Yes, you guessed right.
My husband lives by the principle that even when one “wastes time”, they need to do it productively. He takes this to such a level that at times I find it quite exhausting and very annoying. Nonetheless, in this instance, his principle came to my rescue and I brought home my first paint-by- numbers kit, complete with a set of three brushes and acrylic colours that match the picture on the cover. I remember the lady who sold it telling me how some people don’t buy into this as they feel that it’s deceptive and not really a form of art. Rather than get into the detail of why I’m keen to give this a go, I nodded my head, smiled, paid her and walked away. Also, I didn’t want my husband to get any contradictory ideas at this time. Little did I think then that this kit would be my saving grace for the next one and a half months.
Weeks one and two were intense, as I played with this new, shiny toy. Everyday I’d get into it after work and spend about two hours quietly painting. It was a meditative experience and I could vividly see all the thoughts that passed through my mind as I perfected my brush strokes. By the end of week three I started getting jittery as I had completed less than a quarter of the painting. I was losing patience but kept going anyway, which surprised me as I think my dad tried the marshmallow test on me when I was younger and, I failed miserably. Through week four I covered a lot more and felt happy, by then, the perfectionist side of me caught up too and I was furiously working on the same bits that to everyone else looked complete.The remainder motivation came when I envisioned how vibrant a certain wall would look with this painting on it and just like that, the art work that tested my patience a lot more times than it did my skill as an artist, was finally finished.
My husband, who can barely draw stick figures complimented me saying if he were to paint the same thing, it wouldn’t have turned out as beautiful. Although, now when I think about it I’m not sure that’s much of a compliment!
I do, however, am certain that this A3 sized creative outlet channeled my energy in an easy, no-brainer manner, kept me out of the social media whirlpool and my mind engaged productively.
Now if that doesn’t encourage you to try paint-by- numbers, what else could!