My First Landscape Painting

This is my first landscape painting in 30 years and I’m sure it shows, lol. The only other landscape painting I’ve ever done was in my 9th grade art class and if I remember correctly, it was a shot of brilliant white lightening in the dark purple of a desert night. I no longer have it, or any of the other artwork I did back then, though I did my fair share. I never thought I had any talent for it (and I’m sure many will agree I’m right, lol), but I always enjoyed it, so when I found I could use writing as a creative mode of expression anymore, I turned to visual art.

Creating art is problematic for me. My hands shake, my fine motor control is pretty much shot and my vision is so problematic most days that I no longer see things like other people do. If my vision isn’t stuck at a particular focal range from staring at something too long, then it’s full of spots and detritus, often blurs for no apparent reason and on occasion even wavers and vibrates, making visual art quite the challenge. Between those challenges and the general spoonie problems of dealing with fatigue, depression, pain, and plain old just having too little time, it took me almost a year to complete this painting and as you can see, it still needs a little touch up and a little…..something else. I don’t know if it’s a vision thing or what, but believe it or not, it looks better in the picture than it does in real life. 😂

Screw it, though. This is why I chose painting. It doesn’t require perfection and it’s pretty easy to fix all the little mistakes I make when my muscles decide to jump and land my brush somewhere other than intended. I also find it fun, challenging and relaxing, all at once. Maybe somewhere along the way my skill will develop before my body decides to take what I can do away from me.

It took me years to understand that natural talent is an incredibly rare thing, but skill is something many can develop. I may have never been able to be an artist, as I’ve always had problems with fine motor control, but I sometimes wish I’d taken more initiative to find out, as I’m finding it easier to work around my limitations with paint than I have with writing, to be sure. I’ve also always had a passion for art of all kinds and enjoy being a consumer of art as much as I enjoy creating it. It helps to give my life a little more meaning and also allows me to be somehow OK with all the imperfection, as with all the challenges I face, I simply can’t hold myself to such standards.

And my sweet, generous husband just offered to let me hang it in the apartment, if I’d like. It might look a little funny among our other artwork, like Janet Ballweg’s “Serpentine Pleasures” or Robert S. Duncanson’s “Blue Hole, Little Miami River,” but I sure do love him for supporting me in this endeavor as he has in everything else.

It’s not that expensive as far as hobbies go, if you shop around for materials and take good care of your brushes and other supplies. Instead of buying an easel, I’m using the built-in shelf on a 5 ft ladder. Sure you go through paint and canvas, but at the rate I go, they’re not getting used up very fast and I’ve found some great bargains on them in the most unexpected places. Where it can get really expensive is in taking lessons, which I’ve never done. Instead, I watched a few Youtube videos and then decided to just cut a picture out of a travel catalog and go for it. Of course I lost the picture part way through and had to improvise a bit, lol. This was the result.

I think my next landscape will be based on a picture I took last fall here in Kentucky just outside a little town called Rabbit Hash. We’ll see how it goes. I’ve always wanted to try my hand at some other types of painting, as well. There’s so much to explore.

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