I’ve been painting the little cards that I send off in batches of 5 to a nonprofit who distributes them to seniors in Michigan assisted living and nursing home residents, I get attached to almost every painting and it’s hard to put them into envelopes and mail them off. It’s kind of like they are my kids or something.
Before I mail them I like to just look at them, and I always take a picture before they go. I’m often surprised that I painted them, but other times it’s painfully clear that I did them, though most of the time I send them on anyway. I know how much it means to get a note in the mail, and most people won’t be offended if the artwork isn’t up to par.
Because, really, who decides what’s par anyway?
The nonprofit I make these for is called Bring Smiles to Seniors, and it sends cards all across the United States. I work with the Michigan chapter, because that’s where I live. But I know there’s a big chapter in Florida too, as well as smaller groups in the other states.
They take handmade cards that are donated by individuals and groups, and get them into the hands of people who could really use a smile. Check them out if you make cards and are looking for an outlet for your art. Your art doesn’t have to be watercolor. It can be anything at all, stamping, collage,pencil, anything that will make someone smile.
But I really meant to blog about a tiny bit of branching out that I did. Something a little bigger than the greeting cards I’ve been painting since the pandemic began. This is a 5×7 piece, done from a reference photo I stole from a friend’s Facebook page a couple years ago.
I didn’t have enough confidence to try it back then, but I loved it when I saw the image on her page and thought it would make a really lovely painting. It’s her granddaughter, walking among the pines on one of their many adventures up north.
At the beginning of 2022 I began to think about trying to reproduce some version of the image. I always knew I’d mail it to my friend, regardless of how it turned out. It’s the thought that counts. Right?
But oh the pressure! To do something bigger, something specific to someone. And to do a person, even if it’s just the back of a person! All of those things made it very difficult to start.
Why is it that we so often don’t want to start, in fear of failing. Of wasting a piece of paper and a little bit of paint? I did a practice painting in my sketch book and it wasn’t bad. So I took a deep breath and just began.
And I’m mostly pretty happy with it. Of course, like any piece, there are things I’d do differently, things I hope no one notices. But that’s true of any piece of art.
And in the end, it fulfilled a number of goals. One was to make my friend smile. Another was for me to try something different. And a third goal was to realize it’s just paper…dont worry, jump in!
Today I encourage you all to take some time for yourself and jump into something you love to do. Or something you’ve always wondered if you’d love.
The experience will make you smile. Guaranteed.