Ready, Set, Splatter!
Sometimes we exit our comfort zone for a good cause.
Recently, it was for animal rescue. I attended a Paint Night charity event for the wonderful local animal rescue organization, Saved Souls.
How bad could Paint Night be?
Every time I ask myself that kind of question I have flashbacks of ziplining or trying to get out of a kayak.
But outwardly, this event seemed less risky.
Half way through, I started to understand why Van Gogh cut off his ear.
Look, there’s a reason I paint with words, not acrylics. I am fine-art challenged.
I learned this at age six when I dipped a paint brush in water to “paint” in a special coloring book where the water turned black and white images to blue or red. Anybody old enough to remember this?
With exquisite eye-hand coordination I flipped the water bowl onto the book, painting all the pages simultaneously, flooding the coffee table, and removing the lacquer finish from the tabletop. It was not the kind of masterpiece my mother anticipated.
Even crayons got me in trouble. There was a 1950s TV show where you could send away for a piece of see-through plastic to cover your TV screen and use a crayon to color on the TV with Winky Dink.
Don’t be impressed, I didn’t remember Winky Dink’s name all these years—I googled “Crayons on TV screen.” And there he was.
But I do remember coloring with Winky when the plastic fell off and I continued to express myself on the RCA picture tube and onto the adjacent living room wall. Again, my art led to family astonishment, and not the good kind.
Here’s a random fact: The Internet reports that the aroma of Crayola Crayons is the third most recognizable smell for adults, right after coffee, and peanut butter. I get that. In fact, I just got up from the computer to go sniff a crayon, which for some reason I actually had in my office. Coffee smells better.
But back to my art history. Apparently, scolding from my early artistic endeavors left me brush shy from kindergarten all the way through Medicare eligibility. I knew better than to try and paint, color, or draw anything, ever.
I even flunked Pictionary, with people guessing that the Thanksgiving turkey I drew was a BMW with a Howdy Doody hood ornament.
My wife won’t even let me paint the walls in our house, which, of course, is no hardship at all.
But I digress. Paint Night. We arrived at the host restaurant, Mixx and Mingle on Baltimore Avenue, to find 30 or so table top easels, each holding a blank canvas, with a paper plate on the table featuring black, white, bright green, and bright blue paint blobs.
What? No burnt sienna or magenta?
I ordered my first martini and faced the blank canvas, preparing to unleash my inner Leonardo Da Vinci. Perhaps I’d channel George Seurat, painting Sunday in the Park with George as Tuesday in the Bar with Fay. I couldn’t wait to get creative.
That’s when I found out we’d all be painting the same swimming turtle picture, with step by step instructions. So much for my turning out a faux Renoir Painting Party. So I ordered a second martini.
Now I have to say, between the drinking, laughing, and painting we all had a total blast. I did my best, slapping paint on the canvas while trying not to splash it into my nearby Grey Goose.
After nearly two hours of monkeying with the thing, the final result was supposed to be a turtle, surrounded by coral and seaweed, with sunlight rays sparkling through the water. Oh, and little fish swimming by.
Mine showed a Rhinoceros or possibly the QE2, surrounded by dildos and linguini, with white shoe laces hanging in the blue stuff. Oh, and little hand grenades swam by.
To my left, across and behind me were recognizable turtles in lush, coral and seaweed enhanced seas. Mine, not so much. You’d think I’d been sniffing crayons. Clearly, my half century moratorium on fine arts endeavors was a good thing.
And following tradition, despite the apron I was given to keep me clean, I ruined a great pair of shorts and gave my running shoes random blue highlights. Luckily, this time, I spared Ginger and her crew the embarrassment of my ruining a table top and decorating the walls.
When it was all over, we applauded everyone’s efforts and cheered at the money made for animal rescue. And we were cautioned to be careful with the still-wet canvases, as we took our masterpieces home.
It wasn’t until the next morning I noticed the two-inch black acrylic blob on the door of the Mercedes. I’m sure I have some Goo-Gone® in the drawer with the crayons.
For Andy Warhol, his muse was a soup can; for me, it’s the garbage can. But at least we saved some cute and fuzzy souls.
Fay Jacobs is the author of As I Lay Frying—a Rehoboth Beach Memoir; Fried & True—Tales from Rehoboth Beach, For Frying Out Loud—Rehoboth Beach Diaries, and her newest book Time Fries—Aging Gracelessly in Rehoboth Beach.