I’m No Van Gogh

Hello Thursday! Meet my blog group, comprised of a fantastic group of ladies  who will dazzle you with insight on various topics.  After reading my post, check out their blogs as well. Just click on:

Froggie (Tracey): One frog’s distinct voice on the world around her.

Merry Land Girl (Melissa): Tales of a suburban mom who likes to talk about pop culture, books, Judaism, family, friendship and anything else that comes to mind.

Darwin Shrugged (Denise): Civilized Observations in an Uncivilized World

For this week, I asked my blog group what they’re really bad at.

The inspiration for this week’s topic is this photo:


This was taken last summer. It’s hanging on my fridge, and every time I see it, I think, “Wow. I’m really bad at art.”

I have other thoughts, too. Like, “It was really nice of T to invite me to do an artsy project with her.” Or, “I enjoyed getting out of the house and spending quality time with a good friend.” Those thoughts are never far behind, but my initial reaction is, “Wow. I’m really bad at art.”

It’s not T’s fault. She didn’t know, but really, she should have known. Before I officially moved into my house, I asked T to help me with decorating ideas. Her home looks like a spread in Better Homes and Gardens. She’s been gifted with a remarkable talent, and I think she should do interior decorating on the side, she’s that good. She’s also very good with art projects. I imagine that comes from having a keen eye and the ability to make things gorgeous.

Don’t even get me started about art. I’ve tried, I really have, but I never got the concepts. My forte are stick figures. Pictionary frightens me. I don’t know what colors go with what patterns and I shy away from glue and glitter.

I’m all about stepping outside my comfort zone from time to time, so when T invited me to make paper wreaths, I decided to give it a shot. How hard could it be, really?

Well, it wasn’t easy, not for me anyway. The paper used to make the wreaths are actually pages torn from a book. They had to be ripped out perfectly, no tears, no funky edges. Once you accomplish that roughly 70 times, you have to roll the pages up just so to create a tubular shape. Once you accomplish the tubular shape, hot glue is applied to seal the shape into place.

I couldn’t figure out how to roll that damn paper to save my life. Just when I thought I’d figured it out, the paper would slip from my fingers. Or, I didn’t do it correctly. Hot glue was all over my fingers. I was a hot mess! When the instructor looked at me and asked how I was doing, I was honest.

“I’m hating this.”

I didn’t mean to say that, it just came out. Looking around the room, the other ladies, even the teenagers who’d come along on a whim seemed to have mastered the roll. I was the only one struggling. The instructor gave me a sad look. I know she felt bad for me. She was so patient, re-telling me how to roll the paper at least a few times. I still don’t know how I managed to get them all done. It was a miracle.

After you roll all the pages, they need to be glued to a circular board. There is a particular way you do it, so that each roll in the end will have a layered appearance. I couldn’t even do that right. There were obvious gaps so I hastily, magically rolled up more pages in order to fill in the gaps. By this time, I was sweating and I just wanted to get the project over with. I cursed my artless genes. Why can’t I create? Why can’t I make beautiful things?

The last step was the center of the wreath, the rosebud. I won’t even waste my time explaining how to create the center. It’s an intricate process consisting of lots of cutting, layers of paper… there’s a reason one must attend a class to complete art projects like this one because there’s just too much to do. After I glued that rosebud to the center of my wreath, I stood up and looked at my wreath with a mix of emotions.

I didn’t do it correctly. That was obvious. It was a huge pain in the ass, but I must admit, I felt sublime satisfaction that I got it done. Usually I won’t even attempt to get myself involved in anything artsy, knowing the outcome but this time, I finished and it didn’t look half bad. Sure, it didn’t look right, but it didn’t look bad.



The funny thing is, creating this wreath opened my eyes a little to artsy possibilities. Another friend had been asking me to go to a paint studio with her, one of those wine and paint places and I’d always hesitated because I knew I would fail miserably. I know my limitations. However, if I could create something like the wreath, whose to say I couldn’t paint?

I’m no Van Gogh, but I did better than I thought I would.


Not too shabby for someone who draws stick figures.
Not too shabby for someone who draws stick figures.

Unfortunately, the wreath fell apart soon after I brought it home. I guess most of the glue ended up on my hands, and not on the wreath. My friend T has hers proudly displayed and it still looks as gorgeous as it did the day we made them.

I know I won’t ever be an artist. Not a good one, anyway, but that’s okay. Sometimes it’s okay to push past our comfort zone and try new things. I’ve got my paintings (yes, plural, I’ve gone painting twice now) displayed for all to see, because I’m proud of them, and of me for trying. If T invited me out for another artsy girls’ night out, I’d take her up on the offer, although I might ask that we do a project that doesn’t require hot glue.

Man, hot glue burns when it’s in the wrong hands.


4 thoughts on “I’m No Van Gogh”

  1. Just don’t use the hot glue as a torture device. 😉
    Your painting is awesome.
    I am so bad with art too! I don’t even go to stamping parties because my stuff would look like a 3 year-old did it. When I painted a plate with my husband last year, some of it came out so embarrassing looking. That was my doing. LOL!
    Great post and topic!

  2. My first thought was, “Wait, you tore up a BOOK?!”
    My second was, “Awe, I miss Sara!”

    Keep trying, Sara. I am proud of you. It took guts to go to that art class. 🙂

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