04 May 2010

the black canvas.

"Why are you painting it black?" she asked.

"Because I want to paint something over it and black covers the old painting best." I sat beside the old canvas, a gift, along with an easel and two other canvases, from Christmas years ago.

I'm no painter. For awhile after I got my easel I painted just because it was fun, and I hung my art up on the wall and wrote letters to my friend Emily (who truly is a good artist!) about them.

But then the paintings came down. I looked at them from others' eyes. I saw that I couldn't paint people, that my table was at the wrong angle, that the sky outside the window was white, unpainted, that you couldn't tell what my rose was, and the book looked like it was standing up on its own. So I took my paintings down, and put them behind my bed.

Gradually, I got tired of them. They were taking up space. They were hard to clean around. They were a reminder of things I couldn't do. I gave the little painting to my younger sisters.

One noticed the white sky and crayoned it blue. I nearly cried. It wasn't good art, but it was my art.

For years I kept the big painting behind my bed, vacuuming around it, hearing it bang the wall whenever we moved the bed too much, letting it take up space.

For years I kept my last blank canvas sitting on my easel, waiting until I was better, until I could actually paint. In the end, I gave them both away.

Then I cleaned my room. Deep, get-rid-of-everything-you-don't-want cleaning. I looked at the painting. I decided. And then I gave it away.

Today I changed my mind. I wanted both painted canvases back. I bribed the sister I gave them to, bribed the other sister for loan of paint, kindly requested use of paintbrush from the other sister, then began.

I painted the small one white. White, to begin again and start over fresh. The colors underneath blurred. They ran. They blended in until it look like a rainbow in a snowstorm. I let it dry, then I applied more paint, trying to cover up the colors. I did this three, maybe four times. For the most part, all the color was covered up, and I was left with a blank canvas, right back where I started. This time I decided to paint something meaningful on it. I looked at the draft I have of all my favorite quotes. I thought about the books I've read, the things I've heard. And I decided.


As soon as all the white paint dries, I'm going to boldly paint that across the redeemed canvas, a reminder that the people who love me think my paintings are beautiful. A reminder that "You (God) make everything glorious, You make everything glorious, You make everything glorious, and I am Yours, what does that make me?" A reminder that love doesn't care about the world's standard of beauty.

The other canvas; the big canvas. I painted it black. Few things have been so satisfying as pulling the brush across the canvas and seeing the deep black splash across the surface. Again, I searched for a quote, something meaningful that I wouldn't grow tired of. I decided on Mark Twain:


Paint like no one is judging.


  1. This is SO true! I love this post! It's one of my all time favorites. It's so simple. I've fun into the same thing a few times, ripping about my paintings in my mind, and eventully throwing them away only to be so mad at myself for my lack or artisitc ablity. I can see it in my head much better then I can paint it.
    I can NOT wait to see these in your room, Im just going to smile when I see them in all their glory up on the wall.

  2. awww, thank you so much! :) I know what you mean. I can see something in my head and it looks great, and then when I would try to paint it... it wouldn't turn out right. The funny thing is, I felt the same way about this post. Would people like it? Would it turn out well? I guess it's just easy to judge your own stuff.
    I can't wait to get them up! You can still see some color on the white one, but maybe I'll get a blank canvas when I get back and make a new one that doesn't have pink and blue showing through it :)

  3. I absolutely LOVE LOVE LOVE your blog!
    This was an awesome post!
    I need to get some quotes and such around my room.
    I think that was such an innovative idea.

    Haha, I have totally been there. You just start clicking people's profiles, then their blogs, then they're followers, then they're followers blogs... and on and on.
    Thanks for dropping by though!

  4. Thank you so much! and thanks again :) I just have those two right now, but I'd like to get more.

    Haha yes, and then it takes forever but you find some pretty cool blogs...
    You're welcome!

  5. Katie,

    ....ok so the other day Ali says "You should read Katie's blog!"...of course I say "sure" and immediately forget....Kelly wasn't in the room at the time

    ....about midnight Kelly gets up and heads to bed....on her way past the desk in the hallway she stops and holds up a couple of pieces of paper and asks me "what's this?"
    I reply "I don't know"

    I watch as she looks at the papers fully expecting her to simply wad it up and go throw it away...but instead I catch something in the way she's reading...not sure what I saw...

    Kelly comes to the apparent end of the paper and looks up at me with her eyebrows raised as if to say "wow" and says: "You should read this!"
    I hold my hand out and as she walks to me she looks upward...this was that "holy cow" look someone occassionally flashes
    "What is it?"
    "Katie's blog....it's REEEAAALLLLY GOOD!"
    ....of course now I've been told to read the same thing twice within 4 hours...and told by both people it's good....

    I read it and just have to say...

    -thanks for writing


go ahead. make my day.