I am not particularly good at art. Let me rephrase: I am bad at it. This does not dim my enthusiasm. It does, however, make expression more challenging because Someone Might Laugh. Worse, someone might point out that I have just turned perfectly useful raw materials into a perfectly awful mess. Worst of all, I could prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that I can never get an A in art, unless it is the mercy kind that means I followed the directions even if what I got turned out to be worse than what elephants can do.
It is my job to waste paper; that is what writers do, most of the time. Canvas, however, that’s an investment. So I looked at my blank canvas with fear and trembling. Opal was already creating a fantastical tree. Elizabeth had a plan involving circles that became a mandala. T. had brown stuff growing up from the base of his canvas. I had anxiety.
And red paint.
Eventually, I put the paint on the canvas. Canvas is bumpy. Straight lines are hard. Paint is smushy. And I began to have fun. Here is what having fun looks like (and yes, the smiley face was completely necessary to the process):