My first-ever painting

Since this blog is about sharing ways to cultivate joy, I thought I would get up the courage to share my first ever painting with you.  Here it is – a yin yang symbol painted with acrylics on a textured plaster wooden base. From start to finish, it took me 1.5 years to complete!

My first attempt at art

After meeting some professional artists, I mustered up the courage to just give it a try.

It is not for the faint of heart!  It is 2′ x 4′ and HEAVY.

In my busy lifestyle, tending to my career and family, I really had little time to explore if I indeed had an artsy side.  But a talented friend of mine, named Sharon, inspired me after I saw her lovely paintings.  At a dinner party she hosted, I met a friend of hers who is a professional artist. I was in awe.  He invited me to his studio and showed me his amazing work, and how he uses plaster to texturize his pieces.

So I mustered up the courage to give it a try!   Here is the unfolding of my masterpiece (ha ha).

Step 1:  After building a wooden frame, I spread a thick coat of plaster on the wood, and went a little crazy while it was still wet by texturizing it using a spatula.  The plaster was so thick it took about 4 days to fully dry.  Then I sanded it to create some flat surfaces so I could paint on it. The dust flew EVERYWHERE!

Starting with plaster for texture

Step 1 - Starting with plaster for texture

Step 2:  I was challenged with how to make the yin yang perfectly round.  I looked around my home and found the front half of the caged part of my standing electric fan to be the perfect size!  So I used that to make a circular shape as my yin yang template.  I then painted the first half of the yin yang symbol.

Making the perfect 'yin'

Step 2 - Making the perfect 'yin'

Step 3:  Then I completed the yin yang symbol.

Completing the perfect yang

Step 3 - Completing the perfect yang

Step 4:   For the background, it took numerous layers of paint. I started with an ugly yellow base, then used various browns and greens, using the ‘rubbing off’ technique with each layer. When the new layer of paint is still wet, I used a cloth to rub off much of the paint, which left a lot of the colour in the crevices of the texture, and creates depth. The photo doesn’t show the detail, but the yin yang symbol has a soft golden shimmer on it.

Background paint layers are done

Step 4 - Background paint layers are done, but I had no idea how to frame it.

At this point, the painting was basically done but it really looked lost and I had no idea what it needed to look finished.  It sat for a whole year propped up against the wall, waiting for inspiration to achieve completion.

Step 5:  While browsing in a Las Vegas art gallery, I saw a similar style painting that had a basic black base behind it, so that inspired me to make the base, paint it black, and mount it behind my painting.

Finally mounted and on the wall

Step 5 - Finally mounted on the wall

What inspired me to paint a yin yang as my first piece?  First of all, I went to bed one night, pondering what I wanted to paint.  I woke up the next morning with a very vivid picture in my mind of this painting.  Secondly, the yin yang represents complementary opposites that interact in harmony to achieve a greater whole. I’ve always loved this symbol and find meaning in it because so many things in our world need each other in order to exist.

Creating this piece was very relaxing for me, and brought me joy. So overall, it was a success for me personally.

I have a question for you – What have you been interested in trying but haven’t mustered up the courage or made it a priority yet to do so?  Or what did you explore where you had no idea of the outcome that resulted in joy for you?  It’s good for the soul to carve out time to explore, learn and create.

5 thoughts on “My first-ever painting

  1. Wendy, the true courage in you was that you took the step to explore whether you did, indeed, have an artsy side. And how beautifully your painting turned out. I wonder what joys we miss because we’re afraid to try, or pre-judge ourselves or others. Thanks for sharing your story. And I was glad I might have played a small role in helping to see the path. My dear friend Bill took you further along with your visit to his studio.

  2. First of all I am so moved by your courage to share this story. Mine is simple like many others I would freeze if asked to speak to a group. I found some inspiration one day in listening in on a conversation on public speaking and one of the party mentioned that if you speak on a subject you know well you will get over the fear. Knowing your subject and feel good about sharing the information. I was a member of a local Garden club and decided to take on the role of booking speakers each month. Part of this included the role of getting up in front of everyone and not only announcing the speaker but giving a brief on there background and what they would be speaking about. It not only challenged me, it changed my life. It gave me the confidence to get up and speak to a group. I over came a great fear and I must say it feels great. Life is about challenge and you may not always get the result you want but you gained the experience.

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