The great day has arrived! Like thunder grumbling distantly… our two youngest family members had been murmuring about attempting a Bob Ross Painting Tutorial, as a family.
Before you enquire… No! We’re not renowned for our artistic talent!
“The things you do for love!” A recurring thought of mine!
When generously invited to join the gladsome group, their perennially typing father, declines in a heartbeat. Son Jonathon, a keen, self-taught digital artist, is a driving force behind the scheme. He and his enthusiastic, younger sister zipped out, on an art supply run... acquiring canvases, acrylic paints, palettes and brushes in all shapes and sizes. Eldest son Joel, a talented photographer with a discerning eye for composition and interesting angles, is a promising prospect.
The moment of truth is here!
Wait! Who’s missing… where’s Joel? True to his nature, he’s breakfasting with a friend… squeezing every last minute out of his weekend! As we three await his return, we deem it prudent to select a scene… and preview the tutorial to gain an inkling of what is in store.
We two girls get distracted and pay scant attention. How hard can it be, with the skills of a flea? A makeshift art studio is set up on the back patio… laptop in clear view of us all… such avid students!
Joel blows in… with good mate Garth, in tow… a wild card thrown into the mix! With no easel on hand… he decides to stand and prop the canvas atop the dog’s kennel!
Yes… we take the precaution of making said dog comfortable, outside the patio… gazing wistfully inwards, complete with an unwieldy head-cone! Don’t ask!
Finally… the stage is set… all is in order! What can possibly go wrong?
To cut corners and costs, acrylic paints were on hand… not oils as used in the tutorial. Brisk breezes blow and swirl. Cute wooden easels can only secure canvases in portrait orientation. Okay… so our scenes will be narrow.
Studiously squinting at the glary computer screen, we dutifully whitewash our canvases. A summer sun beats mercilessly down on the metal roof… paint dries in a wink… before we can even think.
What happens next? Blend something blue with the whitewashed background! How? It’s not working! How far are we meant to go? No, only cover the top half! Quick… where’s a damp rag? Phew… what’s next?
The video effortlessly demonstrates the technique used to paint fine, tree trunks with branches to join them. Instantly, brown blobs mar my painting… front and centre! Brush hairs stick to my daughter’s effort! Joel prudently chooses to skip part three and not add foliage to his trees… resulting in a post-apocalyptic landscape.
Garth paints a vibrant bushfire free hand, off to the side. Daughter Dear ignores the gumtree framework and chooses pine trees instead. Jonathon alone, strives to stick to the script… diligently copying the video instruction step by step. Maybe he’s onto something?
Reality check… how many sane people are currently on the back patio? None!
Our neighbours are upwind… noisily whipper-snipping and mowing. We smile and wave. We figure, any subsequent dust and debris will add to the texture and special effects of our masterpieces.
On with the show! What’s next? Mix this and that (specifically named paint colours about which we are clueless)… a few of us, peer at the small dark screen and relay instructions to the rest… blue, black and green… water in between! Not wearing my glasses… I carefully cover the lower half of my canvas. I glance at my son’s work… WHAT! His work has white edges! Quick, dampen the rag… wipe that paint off! Phew… another close call!
After tossing encouraging words at my fellow artists… I return to discover a long water streak, straight down the centre! Our larrikin declares it looks great… abstract! Can he be trusted? The others all insist I must fix it! Quick! Majority sways me! Paint won’t stick… looks even less schmick! A wet rag is my best technique yet!
Waterfalls are diligently created… except by Garth… derailed yet again, he’s merrily creating an abstract log or maybe a dead body! 'Paint it out!', we shout! When next we look, there’s a babbling brook with a gingerbread man on a Bridge to Nowhere! Flitting restlessly around, his wet canvas inexplicably perches on the side of the fridge… then drops face down to the ground... to rest amid our Labrador’s black moulted hair! Extra texture!
Two tortuous hours in… surely a masterpiece we will win!
Gaining ill-founded confidence, we rapidly add dark bushes and banks on each side… plus a rickety bridge in the centre. Fluffy white clouds complete the scene. With the end in sight… desperation is rife!
Our shrubs are too dark! Daughter includes stickmen and a dog… Joel‘s scene looks bipolar… upper half a desert wasteland and the lower, a wonderland. The Jet Fuel Paradise sign gracing his river bank, says it all! I manically dab splashes of yellow; lilac; white and black… in a vain attempt to bring brightness back. Others put violets and red flowers.
It’s now been three hours!
Paint brushes washed, canvases drying… we’re laughing so hard, we’re almost crying.
Only one out of five stuck closely with Bob… yes, he was the one who did the best job!
A waste of time?
It was our funniest afternoon ever!
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The five Mountain Masterpieces!
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For Mariann Carroll's Humour Challenge.
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