Years ago, like so many others, I loved watching “Urkel” on Family Matters, a popular sit-com. In case you somehow missed it or have forgotten, Steve Urkel — portrayed by Jaleel White — was a clumsy, bumbling nerd who seemed to leave catastrophe in his wake wherever he went. When confronted, he always asked, “Did I do that?”
When it comes to catastrophes, I think my kitchen would probably qualify right now. I have paints and brushes, thinners and linseed oil, rags, paper towels, old newspapers, and an assortment of paintings setting around to dry. Oh, yes, I have my easel there, too, of course. My art space has begun taking up so much room, in fact, that earlier this morning I moved the table as far toward the corner as I could. My plan is to spread out an old sheet before I set to work painting today.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again. I love oil painting. The act of spreading paint across the canvas is soothing and relaxing. It goes without saying that playing with color is always fun. But most of all, I love oil painting because I’m so surprised — and pleased — with the results I’ve achieved.
Here’s one of my recently completed works. When I finished it and stepped back to look at it, my first thought was, “Oh, my. Did I do that?”
Unlike Urkel’s remark, mine was uttered not in the face of a catastrophe but in viewing what was — for me — a tremendous success. Did I really do this? Each time I look at the painting, that question comes quickly to mind again. So does the answer. Yes, I did this. I painted this scene, and I intend to paint many more.
Since finishing this painting, I’ve had every family member who has seen it wanting to “claim it and frame it” for their walls. I’ll probably keep this one for myself, but I’m going to be doing many more landscapes: mountain scenes, forest scenes, lakes, rivers, and whatever else I see in nature that catches my fancy. My plan is to start using larger canvases. Once I have a nice collection, I’ll let family members choose their favorite.
It’s a refreshing change from my earliest days of “becoming an artist” when I was so embarrassed about my drawings and paintings that I didn’t want anyone to see them. Now, I’m happily sharing my oil paintings. With a big smile I can say, “Yes, I did that.”
I hope you enjoy my mountain scene too.