Painting my Pleasure: Ecstatic Joy Represented Through Paint

Just recently, I heard some very good news that transformed my perception of my immediate future. My mom is a foreign service officer, and recently I found out that her next post will be in Madrid. This made me so happy as I will have one home in Spain for the next couple of years (my parents are divorced), and I love living abroad. I tried to represent this joy in the form of paint, an activity my roommate is a huge proponent for. Although I am not a very good artist, I am happy with how my piece turned out:

The color scheme consisted of warm colors (yellow, pinks, oranges) to establish a happy mood. I wanted to have a contrast in my painting though, so I also added cool colors (sky blue, lilac, dark purple). To avoid distracting/taking away from the brightness and happiness of the warm colors, I mixed the cooler tones with a lot of white. The figures were curvy and funky, embodying my sporadic feelings of joy.

At first it seemed like this was going to be a lot harder that it ended up being. I have no artistic skill or training, so I was worried about expressing my emotions through paint. My lines were pretty shaky, and I didn’t want my piece to appear nervous. This was a challenge, but the more coats I put on, the more confident and defined my lines became. I really feel like my painting radiates the energy I wanted it to emit.

It became a very calming experience and soon everything but the paint, the ecstatic joy I was remembering, and the mirror I was painting faded away. I think my biggest take-away was derived from the notion of acting myself into the feeling I was trying to present. My goal was to make my art reflect my previous joy, and through the process of physically making my art I achieved that same feeling of joy. This was pretty crazy to me, as I reverse engineered myself into an emotion, the practice of which I did not know to be possible. I feel like it’s easy to get caught up in the end result of the work (the novel, the final performance, the released song) and skip right past the process of creating or enhancing the performance (or it least it has been for me before). This under appreciated experience of creating the art is what always leaves me so calm and peaceful after painting– I need to remind myself of that.


You spent ALL week working on an intricate tapestry, and as soon as you put it down and step back to look at it, you realize you made one single mistake. How do you feel and what do you do?

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