Reverb 10: Make.

by Dian Reid-Jancic· Follow Dian on

What was the last thing you made?
What materials did you use?

Is there something you want to make,
but you need to clear some time for it?

~ Gretchen Rubin

The last thing I made was this rainbow painting.

I probably don’t have to tell you I’m an amateur. In fact, there are probably some entries from 1st grade or even kindergarten that would win a blue ribbon hands down, if entered into any sort of painting contest. Nonetheless, I’m proud of this painting. Not just because I painted it myself, but because I also mixed the colors myself.

Which is both why you see so much white space in the sky above and below the rainbow, and why those two colors don’t match.

I’m not an amateur because I suck at painting. I’m an amateur because I don’t practice painting. And because I don’t practice, I have no idea how much of one paint to mix with another to get the color I want. Nor do I have the sense to make too much, rather than not enough. But I don’t mind; I’m learning.

I’m learning how the bristles on my black-handled brushes affect the paint differently than the bristles on my wood-handed brushes (which I used for this painting). I’m learning that it takes more white to lighten a paint color than it takes black to darken one. A lot more. I’m learning that acrylic paint (which I used here) dries rather quickly, while oils take up to a few weeks to dry in my experience, depending on how thick the layers are. I’m learning that just because I can picture something in my head doesn’t mean it will show up on the canvas looking remotely like that image.

But more than all of that, I’m learning patience. And not just with the paint and the canvas and the bristles and the mixing. I’m learning patience with the self. My self.

I will not be good at everything I do; but I will practice what I want to get better at.

I don’t think I’ll be setting aside much time for painting in 2011. Which isn’t to say that I won’t be painting next year, just that I’ve also learned that painting when I’m inspired to do so seems to create space for acceptance of whatever ends up on my canvas.

What I’ll be setting aside time for to make this year will be space. Creative space. Creative space where I can make a mess or a masterpiece, and still leave space for everything between. Because for me, it’s not about the making; it’s about the learning.

This post is written as Day 6 of Reverb 10, inspired and created by Gwen Bell (Best of ’09) and her rockingly awesome cohorts. Are you reverbing too? I’d love for you to share yourself in the comments below.

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December.6.2010 at 5.04 pm


Cristina December.7.2010 at 12.47 am

I think learning patience in a process is so hard to learn because ultimately you’re having to learn all about your own weaknesses and how to overcome them. I face this almost daily when battling my anxiety disorder. To me, there is nothing worse than being reminded of my own “human-ness”. I love your painting!

Dian Reid December.8.2010 at 6.20 pm

Thanks Cristina =). Learning about the weaknesses and how to overcome them have been hard, especially when some of them resurface and I have to acknowledge the pattern and then address myself on how to move forward. I think sometimes it’s nice to be reminded of my human-ness because it reminds me that I don’t have to be a superhero. And of course other times, it’s frustrating to remember that I’m human—that I make mistakes, that I flub things, that I don’t do it “right” the first time. And that’s where the learning comes in …

Julie Jordan Scott December.7.2010 at 4.49 am

Yay for the process – hooray for the learning! (And yes, a Viking Chorus in Bakersfield ROCKS! Except we sing choral music, as in Italian. As in we sing Italian WELL. And the Carol of the Bells… we sing it WELL! YAY! Your rainbow is beautiful…. just as you are beautiful!

Dian Reid December.8.2010 at 6.16 pm

Thanks Julie =) I’d love to get out your way once while you’re performing and see it live. I can just imagine your energy on stage being larger than life!

Anonymous December.7.2010 at 4.51 am

I LOOOOOOVE that you posted your picture! Process. Getting better. Creative space. Yes.

whollyjeanne December.7.2010 at 1.54 pm

oh, sugar, YOU are a masterpiece. you really are. i love you and i love this post. i remember taking an art for teachers class in undergraduate school and the joy of mixing my own colors in egg cartons.

Dian Reid December.8.2010 at 6.15 pm

oh, what a great idea! i’m going to get some eggs this week just for the carton LOL!!

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