My Humiliating Art Escapade

Surreal dog in real surroundings

Surreal dog in real surroundings

Two stores, three hours and $3.99 later, I realized I finally found the class assignment (710:  Positive Psychology and the Humanities) that fulfilled my prophecy about my lack of artistic self-efficacy.

My attitude about engaging in the humanities to promote well-being has been oddly (for me) cynical.  Don’t get me wrong – I love the humanities as a whole.  I think I have a weird bias about how it’s personal and individualized, and I think that part of me inexplicably feels like it’s wrong to go digging into something so personal.  Fortunately, I have been pleasantly surprised most of the semester to find that digging in has been illuminating and worthwhile.

Until now.

Admittedly, it’s probably more pessimistic self-fulfilling prophecy.  Or perhaps it reflects that I really am poor at art.  I am the only person I know who made a C in art in middle school.  The common reaction to that is usually, “how does someone make a C in art in middle school?”  A good question and one that defies an answer to this day.  In retrospect, my elementary school teachers probably passed me on finger painting because they thought I had potential in other areas.  Fortunately for me.

Enter 710.  Simply coming up with an art project was difficult and painful.  It’s not that I haven’t tried to be artistic over the years: I’ve tried knitting, scrapbooking, and making jewelry, all in the name of self-enrichment.  I think I actually have done a respectable job in most cases.  However, I have found that I repeatedly am simply trying to get through it as quickly as possible so that I can move on to more interesting things.

I chose a compromise project for this blog that required little skill and some creativity.  I chose paint-by-numbers.  Artistic, no.  But I decided a creative twist would be a perspective-shifting exercise where I switch the colors assigned to the respective numbers. I ended up with a red and blue dog, a sort of Warhol-esque-ian outcome.  I like how the painting looks realistic in terms of the carpet and umbrella stand but surreal only with regard to the dog.  It sort of reminds me of myself – a stranger in a not-so-strange land.   I also admit I enjoyed seeing what colors resulted when I mixed the paint.  For you paint-by-number novices, I had to mix up to 3 colors together.  Wooooooo!  And in terms of mindless entertainment, it was kind of fun, as was Chris’s affirmation that I potentially have discovered a new business opportunity in paint-by-numbers-number-shifting.

So maybe this assignment wasn’t so bad after all.  Getting to write about it, as I learned earlier in 710, makes it even better.



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