Monday, February 8, 2016

Painting and life lessons

Recently I got an idea to use a paint program called Procreate on my ipad to try to duplicate what Bob Ross painted on some of his videos, which are posted to Youtube. I thought if I could watch his videos and pause them from time to time I might have a chance of copying his technique.  

Truthfully, I went into it with pretty low expectations. I'd played with the program before, but I didn't know enough to do anything good.

Imagine my utter astonishment when I end up with something like this..

Or this...

Or this..

There are some neat things about painting on this ipad program that remind me of life lessons and the gospel.

First of all, I love that there is an Undo button.  Being able to undo mistakes on a painting means that I can learn and do a little experimenting when I’m not sure what will work best.  It reminds me how wonderful repentance is.  Just think what a mess our lives would be without repentance!

Second, it is so much easier to learn to paint when watching an example and trying to duplicate what the expert does. (Likely some particularly skilled painters will argue with my labeling Bob Ross and expert, but to my ignorance, he is.)  I feel like I picked up a whole bunch of skills that I never would have learned if I hadn’t been able to see them used and hear them explained.  The power of his example reinforces to me how neat it is that we have Christ’s example in the scriptures and the example of so many prophets explaining principles for us to live our lives better. 

When I’m watching an instructional video for a painting, I like to stop the video every few minutes to give me time to try to duplicate what was done in the example.  This reminds me a lot of that principle of line-upon-line, precept-upon-precept.  If I was trying to do it all perfectly, all at once, I would get overwhelmed. 

Paintings start out so rough and plain, but they gradually get more and more detailed.  They start with large sweeping strokes, and get smaller and gentler as time goes on.  That teaches me about gradual refinement. 

Another thing I’ve noticed is that when I have done an awesome job on a mountain in the background, frequently the next stage of the project requires me to be brave and paint something over part of what I’ve just worked so hard to do.  This has taught me something about sacrifice.  There are points in life when we have to sacrifice something we’ve worked hard on in order to progress. Sometimes it seems like the thing we’re sacrificing for is not going to be that great.  (The beginnings of my trees that I paint over my backgrounds don’t look nice to begin with.) But total commitment will eventually make something beautiful and wonderful of our lives.

I’ve done a few paintings that started with nearly black backgrounds and then had colors put on them.  The light colors show up so well, and the whites really zing.  This reminds me of how brightly good people can stand out in a dark world. 

Well, that’s enough for now. I imagine I’ll probably think of more points of similarity as I get better.