Ode to my First Painting

A couple of weeks ago, I unpacked a box from my attic and there I found it: my very first painting. My first painting that I spent a week of my ninth grade 2-D Design class preparing for. I mixed purple hue after purple hue and made dozens of color swatches. I researched flowers and fairies and any bugs with wings on it. I wanted my painting to be majestic and beautiful, something that would gain awe from anyone who saw it. I did my research, I sketched a drawing, and I revised it. Then began the painting, which I surprisingly don’t remember much of. When I was done, however, I was so impressed with my own skill. I basked in my new found monochrome love. I showed all of my favorite teachers and my parents. They complimented it, but I didn’t understand their quick dismissal. I thought, “Why aren’t they realizing this is the masterpiece that I know it is?

Well, when I pulled it out of the dusty box from the attic a few weeks ago, I realized why. I was mortified. I was ashamed. This was what I was proud of? This was what I wanted my Principal to love enough to put in the high school entrance? I willingly showed this to people?

Now I realize that it’s okay to have a terrible first painting. It’s okay to have hundreds of bad paintings. It’s okay to look at it and laugh. It’s even okay to put it on the internet for strangers to see. (I’m still reminding myself of this in order to calm the part of my head that’s worried this will haunt me forever.) I don’t love it because I think it’s a masterpiece; I love it because I used to think that. It means I have grown. I can use it to measure how far I have come. I may not show this off or even keep it in a place of the house that a family member could accidentally stumble upon it, but I will always keep it.

I hope someday that I can look at the paintings I am making now and laugh, because it means I will be that much better then.

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