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Finish the art work by joining the black dots

July 30, 2011

We as children have all owned a “Dot Book,” where you take a pencil and merely follow the dots. It is simple and so much fun.
Suddenly with your eyes you see an image of something exciting and wonderful. It pops out as your voice says, “Wow!” Every day of our sometimes boring and mundane living, we all can discover an image in front of us by using our imagination and make every day we live become a world full excitement and full of colours.
Color can be spelled with a “u,” and since I am an artist, I think that spelling colour is very artsy.
Imagining is forming a mental image of a concept of or picture to yourself of something that is non-existent or not present to our senses. When we imagine, we consider, ponder, devise, plot, or plan something in our own minds. We form a mental image or idea, and thus we exercise the faculty of imagination. Imagining is a fantasy. An imaginist is an imaginative person.” Will you be an imaginist with me? This will be lots of fun as we imagine by sketching and then painting this picture together. We’ll see lots of colours, and I promise you this process is filled with the mixing of colours and squinting our eyes. Searching for all the lights and shadows will suddenly and magically become very exciting. Together we shall dip our big and little paint brushes into lots of pretty colours, and then our painting will live its own life on a blank white piece of 100% cotton canvas. Are you ready?
Sometimes living life can be very simple and relaxed. Let’s find a relaxing chair to sit in. What is a chair? It is a seat for one person of various forms with usually a rest for the back, and it should be a very comfortable thing to sit in or plop down in. Our chair has an arm rest on both sides to rest our arms. We might find an easy chair, an elbow chair, or a garden chair which is placed in a flower garden, and then we can watch the world go by, drinking in the sweet smelling flowers and the peacefulness of the one moment of being completely relaxed in our too busy world we all live in. Remember back a year or so ago when the BP oil spilled in the Gulf? This story made the top headlines in our daily and nightly TV and radio news. We wondered if life would ever be as simple and relaxed again. We saw our economy drop, the loss of wildlife, and our lifestyle changed forever. The recent horrible tornadoes of 2011 left us here in Mississippi and in the entire deep south with great loss and grief. Our sister states in the north suffered as well. It was all just horrible. We each need to find a chair just to sit and ponder our deepest thoughts and feelings about a brighter day, knowing that we can only live this one day that we have. If we could only do this one thing, live only today, then we could make a big difference in our own life and in the lives of others. It’s hard to live one second, one minute, and one hour, but come on now. This is all we have. This one moment. Live it now, and then love, live again life itself.
Since we are going to practice what we preach and we are now imaginists, let’s imagine a chair in our garden. We too have squeezed inside the chair. It is a sunny, warm, perfectly brand new day on a summertime early morning. The sun is beginning to peep behind the dark black night clouds, and its the beginning of the daylight as it is appearing in the eastern light blue/orange/yellow sky. It is going to be a beautiful day ahead. It is a very elegant and lovely low antique wicker chair with two arm rests on each side. The wicker itself is airy, open, and delightful. The early morning sunshine kisses our cheeks, and we close our eyes to enjoy the warm, wonderful feeling that suddenly comes over us, and now into our very body itself. We are completely relaxed.
It was the year of 1971 that I found this garden spot, and this one antique wicker chair hand-made years ago right here in Mississippi. It is a family piece of furniture - a house piece. We took it out to our flower garden to become a garden piece. We are going to sit a spell. I gathered up all my art supplies, easel, paints, brushes, canvas, big straw floppy hat, and a colorful umbrella to keep the sun from bouncing off my white canvas blinding me from the strong sun rays above me. We shall finish this painting by the end of the day.
We are going to share the chair with a big very antique fruit jar. There is barely enough room for our bodies and the big jar too. It has a strong and large wire handle on one side of the jar. Let’s go and pick the summertime flowers of all shapes, sizes, and colours. It is now a bouquet. Life is a bouquet of mixed emotions of sadness and happiness all mixed together in one colourful bouquet. We shall let one blue flower drop into the seat of the chair. See it? This is a cylinder jar which is clear so that we can see the stems of our flowers through the jar itself which makes the greens look lovely. This jar does not have a spout, but only the heavy wire around the top of the jar. This jar was used to preserve Mama’s pickles. They were so delicious sprinked over green beans. Mama was known for her home canning each summer; our kitchen cupboards were filled.
Daddy’s hobby was gardening as we might say in our “lower 40.” It is just an expression of a big back yard garden. Daddy’s tomatoes were also canned by Mama, and Daddy grew the largest and home-grown tomatoes in all of Oktibbeha County.
I can still smell Mama’s tomatoes stewing in the kitchen right now. This jar could be filled with canned tomatoes or pickled Chow Chow as well. We are using this big jar as a vase for our colourful freshly picked flowers from our flower garden.
This is a colourful world that we live in. Colour is around us all the time. A final painting is what is created to last for years and years, and for generations and generations to enjoy for years to come. We start out with a blank piece of white canvas. It is now up to you and to me to make our own colourful choices of all the 90 different paints squeezed out on our palette. We squirted out all these colours, and now which ones shall we choose? Colour-filled painting outside and outdoors was a style of American abstract painting prominent in the late 1940’s and 1950’s featuring large expanses of unmodulated colour covering the greater part of the canvas. A colour-wash is paint used with colour distemper. Distemper is a person who paints in a distemper with water or other liquids. Colourful is full of color, full of interest, excitement and force. Colour is flamboyant, colourfull and colourfulness with lots of colours. What can colour do? Colour says to an artist and to the viewer of her work to make both of our lives as we live each day very vivid.
We shall first sketch the simple antique wicker chair with the two arm rests. The chair will remain all white by letting the entire white cotton canvas untouched by any paint and let the white canvas itself become the white paint for us. We picked the fresh flowers from our flower garden. We hear the sweet and melodious voice of the mockingbird in the tall, old pecan tree. Where is she? She is hidden by her gray feathers to keep her hidden and unseen, but her voice is heard loud and clear. The chair is in its own certain special place, and the flowers now look so stunning and beautiful in the big canning jar. Look with me at all the colours of reds, blues, purples, touches of yellows, and even a peach colour or two. Suddenly the entire chair picks up these same hues. Look closely at the back of the chair and to your left side see these same colours of the flowers are caught within the heavy straw wicker chair too.
Using the left side of the arm rest is making you read this painting as you read a book, left to right.
This is mostly a white painting again using the white canvas to white-wash the entire canvas. The brushes dance with each other by colouring nature, the flowers in the seat of the wicker chair, like a real dancer romantically colouring the world we live in after nature. Oh, the simplicity of a simple wicker chair just sitting peacefully in a flower garden in the backyard with the warm sunshine beaming down on the tops of our very heads and hitting our cheeks with a kiss or two. Do you not have happy thoughts with an overflowing heart filled with only warm feelings?
Now we stand back from our painting, admire it, and love it. Look again at the black outline of the right side of the chair. We look once more at the quiet simplicity of all the light purples, golds, blues, oranges reds, greens and a touch of a peach colour. Suddenly, we taste the colours, and we take a sip of all the now white soothing delicious pure water with an ice cube or two floating inside the glass. I now relive the days of our childhood and skipping down to Daddy’s garden to see what he is doing - hoeing and picking his cucumbers and tomatoes, and then to the kitchen to breathe in the delicious aroma of Mama’s canning of her famous Chow Chow pickles and tomatoes stewing on the top of her stove getting ready to be strained in her big metal strainer and put up to be enjoyed later on a cold winter nights as a supper time meal. I think of the delicious cold tomatoes in a bowl with a few crackers.
Living life each day, each second, each minute and each hour can be a simple thing to do.
You, too can allow colours to drift into your heart and soul simply by letting a paint brush dance romantically with love across your life and colour your world with its joyful beauty. Don’t clutter up your life; just enjoy it. Make living colourful and very, very happy. Remember to just be yourself and do your thing.
You, my viewer, and I together finished the painting by joining the dots.

Carole McReynolds Davis is a local artist and writer. Contact her at

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