My grandma was a painter and a farmer’s wife. Her name was Johnnie.
She often painted with oil paints. I have one of her paintings hanging downstairs. It’s of a big red barn and I love it. I tried to take a picture of it, but it doesn’t do it justice.
So, for my daughter’s birthday I got her some oil paints. On Saturday we tried them out. First, aprons all around.
As we squeezed the paints out on the trays, the smells brought me back. I was standing in Grandma Johnnie’s studio: a garage-like building a dozen steps from the main house, chock full of paintings and easels.
She also painted with watercolor. We did too.
There’s a lot I don’t remember about her and her paintings. But still, I was surprised at how much I could recall.
I love the faces kids make when they’re concentrating. I’m certain my kids’ concentrating faces are much more toned down than mine were.
No tongues out in this crew. I don’t know how they get anything done without their mouths open and tongues out. I find it’s the best way to focus.
One thing I do remember about Grandma’s painting was how she painted the whole canvass a base color before she started, sometimes multiple times. I remember thinking how smart that was! I guess I’m easily impressed.
I also remember how she mixed the colors to make new colors. Again, I was in awe.
And, even though I’m just their mom, not Grandma Johnnie, I do think the kids were impressed when I showed them the way they could mix the colors and get a million different shades.
As we started nearing the end of our oil painting adventure (in other words, the baby was stirring from her nap), I contemplated clean-up.
We got the watercolor stuff put away and all the paintings laid out to dry. Everyone was quite clean and there was hardly any mess at all. Just the oil paints needed to be washed out of the brushes and trays. Easy enough.
What a dope I am sometimes. Oil paints, you know, real paints, made from oil. It doesn’t just wash off, you need paint thinner, or, in my case, a whole lot of soap, elbow grease and about 40 minutes, to get it out of the brushes, etc.
So, it may not look like a lot of paint there in the bottom of my (edited to look cleaner than it was) sink, but don’t be fooled, that’s a lot of clean-up right there. That brought back another memory of my Grandma Johnnie. One of her standing at the utility sink in her mud room, cleaning out paint brushes and trays.
I’m thankful for a Saturday afternoon of standing where she stood, cleaning oil paints out of paint brushes, teaching others the little that I know, being messy, and enjoying it all.