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A Stretched Canvas

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It was last Christmas, near my birthday, and a good friend sent me a link to check out and asked if I’d like to do “it” for my birthday present.

Intrigued, I clicked the link. A PAINTING party? “Maybe Anne doesn’t know me as well as I thought,” I smirked. You see, stick figures challenge me. Literally. I don’t have an artistic bone in my body. Give me Debussy or Chopin and the emotion comes through, but a blank piece of paper? A CANVAS? That would *definitely* be challenging. But I could tell my friend really wanted to give this gift to me. Something for us to do together. We could bring a drink. Wine? Yes, wine. Surely, we could just giggle and paint and have fun.

Hesitatingly, I said yes. Online, I chose our class. Our city’s skyline. The day came and I was a tad bit nervous, but I told myself that the painting was going on a wall. No matter what.

“We can always hang it in the closet!” Anne said when I confessed to her my personal pep talk. Yes, she has a way of making me laugh and keeping me humble all at the same time. 🙂

So the night came. I step into the building and art is everywhere. We grab aprons. Our paints. The whole class sits at our personal easels and a lady stands up in front and guides us through the painting. She makes us laugh. Anne and I exchange glances and smothered giggles and we just do it.

"I thought this was a Paint-by-Number!"

We sponge on gold and scrape on orange. This was fun. This was something I had never done before. I honestly had not painted a picture since I had held little, paint-filled cups all in a perfect row and followed a number chart. Probably back when my age was in the single digits.

So we kept going. Laughing. Cringing every now and then as we made a mistake, occasionally looking around, in awe at the other painters. Clearly, some of them were real artists. Some would pass my painting and sweetly say, “Oh, that’s really good!” Yes, it was merely sweet, Southern charm. But I’ll take whatever I can get, bless my heart.

So, I learned something that night. Friends can stretch you like a canvas. Even in a simple, girls’ night out. A friend by your side gives you courage to do things that you would never do on your own. And even in the widening of your horizons, the discomfort of trying something new, she can make you laugh and mix the rather ordinary palette of your life and create a beautiful gift of a night.

And yes. It’s hanging on my wall. Sometimes, I walk by and laugh at its ridiculousness. Sometimes, I stare at it and can’t believe I actually *painted* something – anything!

I want to go back. And I think I might look for other ways to stretch my canvas.

What is something you have done that you never thought you’d do?