Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: START (02/25/16)
TITLE: From Fear to Joy
By Jenny Fulton
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Only Jane sat completely unmoving at her work space. She gazed at the intimidating blank white canvas in front of her. She looked with trepidation at the paint and various sizes of paint brushes next to her. She timidly fingered the beautiful picture beside her. How was she supposed to even remotely recreate that image?
Her friend Sasha looked over, glanced at the white canvas, and then looked back at Jane in concern. “You feeling ok?” There was no doubt that the question was genuine, but it was equally apparent that Sasha’s attention was not fully centered on her friend.
Jane nodded and forced a smile. “Of course. I’m just…gearing up to get going. I, um, can’t decide what color I want the background to be.”
“Ok,” Sasha replied hesitantly before turning back to her own canvas. “You know, it’s not as difficult as you might think. Just follow the instructions and ask the instructor if you need help.”
Sure, Jane thought. Easy for Sasha to say. She was a natural artist. Beauty, ability, and creativity seemed to effortlessly stream out of every pore in her body. When was the last time Jane herself had even touched a paintbrush? Elementary school art class? And when was the last time she had ever touched a paintbrush to canvas? Umm…never. Her hands were clumsy and uncoordinated. The canvas was probably better off as it was—pretty, white, and unblemished. If she tried to touch the paint, she’d probably just end up making a mess or disgracing that poor canvas which deserved to have a masterpiece on it.
With a deep sigh, Jane studied the picture again. She didn’t like how dark the background was. Maybe she could make it lighter. With as much caution as she would exercise in picking up a fully loaded semi-automatic .44 magnum pistol, Jane lifted the largest paintbrush and dipped it into the blue paint. Then, out of curiosity, she dabbed the brush into some purple paint.
And now, the moment of truth. The brush touched canvas. Bright colors splayed across the surface, cutting into the whiteness.
For some inexplicable reason, Jane smiled. She moved the brush across the canvas a few more times, suddenly caught up in the magic of colors flowing this way and that across a surface which spoke of endless possibility.
With anticipation running high, Jane returned her brush to the palette. She mixed a few more colors together and tried out the effect on a paper towel. Satisfied, she brought the brush back to the canvas. As her hand manipulated the tool in various strokes, her body relaxed and her spirit exulted in the beauty which was developing right before her eyes.
I’m painting, she thought. I’m really painting!
The next few hours flew by faster than Jane could have ever thought possible. Each new step gave her some initial moments of fear and uncertainty, but she had already experienced too much joy to allow her fear to take charge.
The session came to an end and Jane sat back with a sigh of complete contentment. Before her eyes, where a blank white canvas had once rested, was now a vibrant painting of two little birds in a tree, set against a purple-blue sky.
To the experienced art critic, the painting was far from perfect. There were small globs of paint here and there, uneven lines, and the colors were far from being an accurate portrayal. To Jane, however, the picture was beautiful. It was a magical wonder. She had stepped out and attempted something new, something she’d been so afraid to start for fear of failing. And yet, she realized, all those fears had been completely unfounded. All she’d needed to do was start.
I wonder what else I can do, Jane thought.
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