W.I.P. Wednesday : A Painting Lesson & Some Crewel

I want to learn to paint.

I’ve wanted to learn to paint for a rather long time, actually. I have always admired people who knew how to paint, and I wanted to give it a try. But I was afraid.

For some very confusing reason I had it in my mind that if you weren’t good at something, well, it was better not to do it. Weak attempts at new skills could lead to moments of embarrassment, being ill at ease amongst your classmates or even all out humiliation!

To buffer my feelings of inadequacy, I learned early on to announce to everyone that I was just terrible at art, and only produce half-efforts during my bi-weekly hour of state-required “art class” in grammar school. It’s a known fact that if you tell everyone you lack talent, it’s far less shameful to produce sub-par work, and who knows, you may even impress someone with an accidental success (but because it was surely a fluke so no pressure to re-produce the greatness).

When I entered middle school, Art was no longer required, and I came to terms with this lacunae in my life and manifested my artistic side with ballet, music and writing. Life was good.

Then one day, many years later, I realized I was a closet perfectionist (I literally gasped in horror when I saw the forest for the trees) and that I needed to allow myself make lots of mistakes if I wanted to be happy.

So, I openly admitted I wanted to learn to paint.

Enter my blogging friend Maria Rose from Little Things Are Big. An accomplished artist (check out her work), she generously proposed to teach me to paint. The quirky challenge to this is of course that she is in the United States and I am in France! With the help of her husband, Maria Rose is creating a series of virtual painting classes for me.

We talked about it and agreed these virtual lessons need to be shared with everyone! So here you have my first Painting Lesson. It would be great if you want to join in the fun! Do let us know if you’ll be painting with us. I’m really excited about learning to paint – what fun! I promise I’ll be sharing my progress, however unsophisticated, throughout this little artistic journey.


Here’s a cryptic little peak at what I’m working on from this wonderful book from my friend Natlaia. To be clear, this isn’t technically creweling because I’m not using wool thread, but cotton. I couldn’t wait to start a little something from this book, the patterns are so beautiful. And speaking of beautiful, go take a peek at Natalia’s amazing handiwork – she’s so talented!

If you’d like to be added to the W.I.P. List, please leave me a comment on the W.I.P. page – don’t forget, there’s no obligation to participate every single week! Play along when you’re feeling crafty!

30 thoughts on “W.I.P. Wednesday : A Painting Lesson & Some Crewel

  1. The red piece of crewel work is awesome! I have to look around to find the book so I can browse through it. And I hope you share your painting experience. I love that food blogging got me taking pictures of things other than Alex. Now I’m really making an effort to take better pictures of Alex, nature, food and anything and everything in between. It’s been something I’ve wanted to learn more about for many years but didn’t make the time.

  2. Shellyfish,
    You cease to amaze me. So great that you are painting and I can’t think of a better teacher than Maria Rose. She is very cool. I will check out her work.

    I agree with you that the pattern on the crewel work is very pleasing to the eye. I like the color you choose too. I love red, it makes me happy to look at it.

  3. I can totally relate to the idea of perfectionism. . . it took a long time to realize I’d be missing out on some pretty great experiences that way, so now it’s “Okay! When can I make my next mistake?!” Your wool crewel looks fabulous already! Can’t wait to see the painting results. And wish I could play along–maybe once the book is done!

  4. OH Dear Shel ! You are truly a great friend to see me soo good in embroidery !!! No way !! It is something maybe I’ll get the chance to work on !!! (Check the post again for some more photos !) I send you lots of love and I would like to paint with you I would have loved to paint but my father was a painter so it made me feel very inadecquate (?) and I’m entering my wip project !

  5. i too thought if you weren’t good at something to begin with it wasn’t best to keep on trying. i suck at running, but that doesn’t stop me from doing it! i figure i can get better, and slowly, i am! so if my pokey knock-kneed ass can run – you can paint! and i’m so thrilled that you’re learning how, Shelly! kudos to you, chica! yay! Maria Rose sounds awesome – and i am going to check out the first paint lesson, fo ‘sho! how cool is that?!? i love your creweled work – what a beautiful start. i can’t wait to see it all finished up, too!

    hooray for do’n the things you want to do and learning new skills & crafts! it’s so inspiring! no W.I.P. for me this week (still working on the same scarf, but i may start on a new one soon), but perhaps next week…

    take care & stay warm!

  6. What an awesome opportunity!! I will be following along eagerly, not sure if I’ll join in with the painting…we’ll see.
    And that song IS groovy!!
    Who is it?

  7. I was the exact same way as a child… I couldn’t wait for middle school and the day I could stop taking art classes. Now of course I wished I had let myself be “bad” at something but keep doing it anyways. I will definitely be making some time to check out these painting lessons. Thanks so much for sharing!!

    Your crewel piece is so cute. I don’t even know what that is really so I’m off to check wikipedia…

  8. I used to paint a lot and then I also stopped because I thought I wasn’t good enough.(Yeah, I wanted to be the next an Dali or something.) Now I think that’s not a reason to stop something because you can always improve! Have a lot of fun.

  9. I don’t know what to do for the stitchalong. Something fun of course. Maybe we should ask the other WIP gals and see if they have any suggestions. We could search online for an embroidery pattern so everyone would have access to it. I will have to do some searching. It will be cool to see everyone’s take on the same project.

  10. Just this morning I was wondering how the painting lessons were going! I’m so glad you guys have paired up – I can’t wait to see the wonderful things you’ll create 🙂 There was a quote I was given in art class that I am going to look up tonight and share with you – I’ll post it up soon!

  11. I’ve always wanted to learn how to paint as well! I saw this one segment on the Bonnie Hunt show with a woman who teaches “masterpieces” in 5 minutes. They are really beautiful paintings too.

  12. I ADORE painting!! So relaxing and a wonderful creative outlet.

    **Just as a heads up: I will not be able to comment on blogs as often now, during this semester, due to work overload (I’m stressed already) – PLEASE know that I’m still loyally reading, but just won’t have time to comment. I hope you understand!!

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