“I can give you something productive to paint,” my husband says. “Like the walls of our house.” I’m showing him my new hobbies: coloring and painting. I’m also reviewing the fact that I spent about $40 on colored pencils, a coloring book, composition notebooks, and a watercolor paint set.
“Productive is the opposite of what I want,” I say, staring at the 50 shades of white in the paint samples on our coffee table. We are adults who are crippled with the decision about which shade of white to paint our new house. “The purpose is to teach my mind to wander.”
I explain that I’m working through a book called The Artist’s Way and I’m supposed to learn how to play again, embrace my artist child. I decide to start with coloring and every time I color outside the lines, I’m incredibly stressed.
“So, basically you’re going to make a mess,” my husband says when I outline my plans to watercolor and how it will make me a better writer.
“No, I will not make a mess,” I say. “It’s watercolors.”
The first time I whip out the watercolor set, I stare at the blank white page and the neat rows of circles of paint. Suddenly, I’m lost. Did I ever do this as a child? Did anyone ever teach me how to paint? Did I make watercolors that my mom hung on the fridge? I literally have no memory of ever painting with watercolors, so I’m not quite sure yet why I have picked this creative outlet.
My husband’s away at the office, while I’m busy holding my first artistic retreat at our kitchen table. The cat decides the dipping and swirling of the paint brush in the glass of water looks like a fun new game for him. One swat and the entire glass of murky water dumps all over the table.
Everything’s soaked. It’s a mess.
I look at my blank white page that now has an amateur rainbow that wouldn’t even rival a child’s and is now smeared, along with my crinkled book and sopped placemats. In beautiful cursive, I write underneath, “You were right” and proudly show it to my husband when he gets home from work.