Hello! I have something fun to share.
This past weekend we partnered with our dearly beloved friends Mickey and Kellie to open the farm for a community painting event. It had been an evolving inspiration for some time, a craving and a brainstorm one day just grew legs.
We wanted an activity to welcome all sorts of people, something to spread some calm, tie us gently together, and draw out some creativity. An offering of time and space to breathe in the golden hour here which we love so much, both with people we know and love and with strangers. The farm really can be spectacular just before dusk, and on the evening of our event the weather was so perfect. We felt wrapped in color and tranquility. Energy.
The event was opened to the public with just one week’s notice, and we promoted it very little. Still, almost two dozen people attended. How thrilling! (And for everyone who wanted to join us but couldn’t, we will absolutely be hosting again soon! Lots of supplies need to be used up, and we want to meet you!)
We had decided to distinguish this particular fun from the structured painting events you might attend elsewhere. We set up tables and cleared empty spaces all over the deck and south yard and grassy area near the shade garden.
Those were all surrounded by easels which Brandy and Mickey had built themselves. We provided halved egg cartons for mixing custom paint colors, dozens of brushes, and of course blank canvases. All sizes. For the kiddos who lit up the farm with their amazing energy, we had a few old tank tops and cheap white tees I wear for gardening. (Now covered in painterly hand prints and streaks of joy, those are my favorite shirts again.)
My husband spoke briefly at the beginning, as everyone was still nibbling plates of summery treats and getting comfortable. He invited us to paint at will and allow whatever was inside of us, all of our individuality, to come out. He spoke easily about peace and joy, about love for nature and about community and connection, and he was in his element surrounded by kids eager to dive into some paint.
Ok here is where I could tell you dozens of stories about the artwork I glimpsed, about our friends’ wide array of personalities and how much color, technique, subject matter, and emotion came pouring out and onto the canvases.
You might want to know about the kids’ paintings and their innocence and effervescence. Or about the masking tape creativity a few people used. The tiny feather strokes, the gorgeous splattering, the complete revamps, the sudden inspiration, the delicious sense of exhale and calm when someone landed on what they really wanted to paint. My friend (and secret mentor) Kelly drove all the way from Ada toting her current work-in-progress, and you might want to know more about that. It is gorgeous!
Do you want to hear how my other friend Kellie and I sat blindly across from each other but accidentally started painting almost the exact same thing? Ha! The tiny canvases by Jeff and Leanne stole my heart. Maddie, freshly returned from Japan, painted the most beautiful pair of koi fish, I almost stole that for myself. The Whitley crew all painted something different and wonderful, ranging form bold and abstract to cheerful minions and hand prints. Zach drummed up an excellent Lorax (to deal with a smudge deposited by one of his precious babies), his wife and my gypy friend produced these lush tropical leaves. The artwork was all full of hidden jokes, pure self expression, and surprising joy. And we all intermingled with each other over the differences (except Kellie and me, obviously, ha).
There was just so much to love that we would have missed had we all been painting the same image under direction.
No offense to guided painting whatsoever, by the way. Maybe at another event we will do exactly that! But for this first event, the free form welcome was perfect.
Or you might want to hear about the conversations. The easy ways everyone was managing to catch up on each other’s lives, elbow to elbow, just sort of entranced in their own blooming work. We talked about tattoos and life and food. Restaurant ideas, summertime work, big things we are waiting for. We talked about chickens and parrots and gardening. Softball tournaments and injuries and grand kids. Marriage. Love. Everything.
The hours sank past golden and into that purple-pink, bruised dusk we love just as much as daytime. The deck lights twinkled. Paintings came to fruition at a similar moment, all at once, which I thought was magical. We laughed a lot and walked around looking closely at each other’s work. A few people returned to the supply table for extra blank canvases. The kids (and Klaus) enjoyed some time at the flight pen petting and learning about chickens and ducks. I silently wished everyone would stay all night. I silently promised to make them all a really great breakfast tomorrow.
Toward the end of the evening, Mickey gifted us with his rendering of what we had all done, of the gathering itself. It is beautiful. A dark, swirling sky view dotted with triangles that represent the easels all over our farm. We will treasure it forever.
Jessica and her boyfriend joined the fun. We all continued snacking on treats and laughing. Klaus thought it was all for him, as always, ha! Friends began saying their goodbyes. And we all hugged and wished for either an immediate bedtime or many more long hours to spend together. Both, was my wish.
That evening was magical, and we are thankful to our twenty-ish guests for carving time out of their lives to make it that way. We are thankful for the energy cast over our little group to act on a longstanding inspiration. And we absolutely cannot wait for the next community event! If you are local and want to follow along, maybe even join us soon, find “The Lazy W Family Outreach” on Facebook. We will be posting more and more there. More on that soon, I promise.