wing+tree

A Beautiful Mess

Sheree BurlingtonComment

Last week I signed up for a mixed media collage e-course offered by Kelly Rae Roberts. By mistake. I actually thought I was signing up for this limited time only offer: "For just $99, you get ALL of my e-courses, including my soul stirring painting e-course (usually $247) my popular ebook on how to build a creative biz (usually $140) and my Wear Your Joy e-course (usually $69.) A value of $450 for $99." I missed the deadline and ended up getting the mixed media course - for $247. Some computer glitch included the other two. Since my primary interest was the structure of her creative biz ebook, my first inclination was to cancel. My second was to follow this fork in the road, just to see where it lead. 

Kelly Rae Roberts Painting E-Course

Last month, before I'd even heard of this course, I moved my desk, computer and art supplies up to the unused second floor of my cape. This is the space my son Neal and I occupied when we lived with my parents (for 5+ years!) It's full of memories and I can almost hear him in the next room yelling on X-Box or playing Bruce Hornsby's That's the Way it is over and over. It's a bright, sunny, skylighted, tree-surrounded space and I love it up there. Nine feet of book cases fit perfectly along the back wall. They're packed with bins and boxes and bottles and cans filled with artsy goodness. A 3x5' work table (on wheels!) All of my paint, jewelry, collage, sewing, books and writing tools, finally - in one big happy, neatly organized, completely unused place. 

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I've taken dozens of online courses in the last six months - zine design, branding, logo design, hand lettering, marketing, surface pattern design and more. Since most were either free or included in my $10 monthly Skillshare membership, the fact that I rarely produced any actual work didn't phase me. But when I drop $247 on a single course, it comes with strong personal instructions to actually participate

Determined to make some actual art, I made a list and jumped in the car. A trip to Michael's & Hobby Lobby and nearly $300 later & I was ready to paint. First, let me say that I am a clean freak. I don't like or make messes. My art supplies are clean and organized. Every paint brush I own pretty much looks like it just came from the package. So when I watched Kelly Rae dribble paint on her canvas and then rub it in with her fingers, I thought hmmm - this may not be for me. Rub it in with her fingers, then pick up a brayer. A spray bottle. A bottle of paint. And when she wiped her paint covered hands on the front of her apron, I thought Oh Hell No. 

Since the shortest distance between me and $247 appeared to be covered with paint, I decided to get over myself and get started. The first time I wiped my hand on my apron, I was scandalized. I stared at myself in the closet door mirror, my mouth wide open. A teal streak across clean white cotton. Followed by a red streak. Black! Paint behind my fingernails, on my forehead. My glasses. On the handle of every tool with a handle. Caked and dried on my hands. No one who knows me would believe it - I wish I'd photographed them. When I finished 3 hours later, I'd produced nine really cool abstract canvases.

This is my favorite. Actually, they're all my favorite. Cheap craft paint. Fingers. A plastic fork. A brayer. An old driver's license. Bubble wrap. My favorite course instruction - there are No Rules and No Mistakes. If you don't like something, cover it with paint and try something else. 

The next video is entitled "Getting Started with Collage Layers." I don't know the details, but I'm pretty sure it's going to be messy.