Years ago, my aunt told me the following story:
“When I was in school and taking an oils class, one day the professor walked in and announced that today we would be painting with finger paints. All of us were incredulous! We were serious art students and we were to use a child’s toy? He must be joking! Well… we all very quickly found out that it was not a joke and far more difficult than you can imagine. The paint dries very quickly and you must work as quickly. You fail more times than you succeed and yet those times you succeed makes the effort worthwhile. You see, there is something quite unique and special about the flow of energy, actually touching your paint over using a brush, that happens when you finger paint. I enjoyed it so much, I periodically finger painted over the years.”
I’ve been thinking about that story lately. I don’t know why. While running errands on Saturday, it popped into my mind again. So, in between the dry cleaners and the grocery store, I stopped by my nearby Michaels’ and bought kids’ finger paint and paper. This would be a brand new experience for me. Growing up we had crayons, watercolors, pastels, and no finger paints.
Sunday, I covered the kitchen table with newspapers and got to fingerpainting. Difficult? Understatement. I first tried for the smooth lines my aunt had achieved. Nothing doing. Maybe if I tried painting a thing. Doggy? Nope. Log Cabin? Eek. Ducky? Um. Just when I had filled the wastepaper basket with crumpled attempts and paper towels and was ready to slap my hands in a puddle of the stuff, (or whatever else frustrated kids do with fingerpaints), my aunt whispered in my ear: “Know your medium.” Oh. Right. I knew that. Well, to know your medium, you better learn. I started over just experimenting:
I now officially love fingerpainting. I think I’ll do more this week. It’s perfect timing…. lately I have felt abandoned by my polymer clay muse. Maybe there is a fingerpainting muse.