You’d think that I would have gotten the hint at Paint Night (or long before that, actually). I seriously cannot paint! But when two friends mentioned that they planned to take part in a mosaic painting activity that was taking place in our town, I immediately signed up!
In celebration of Canada’s 150th birthday (July 1, 2017), Lewis Lavoie, Paul Lavoie and Phil Alain initiated a very ambitious endeavour, entitled “Canada 150 Mosaic”. Through this project, the team members work with 150 different communities across Canada. In each selected town or city, people of all ages, and of all artistic abilities, gather together to paint images on 10 cm X 10 cm ceramic tiles. The individual pictures can be of anything that represents the participants’ local area. When completed, over 80,000 tiles will create 150 separate, but connected murals. The murals will reside in the communities where they were made. If they were all joined together, the unified artwork would measure the size of four football fields! (Source)
It was an incredible vision. Still, two days before our town’s ‘paint-in’, I panicked. What could I paint? More specifically, what could I produce that I wouldn’t be mortified to see every time I passed by its prominent display in our City Hall?
Gathering all artistic supplies that I owned (a couple of highlighters, a few old crayons, and some white computer paper), I set out to draft a simple mountain and water scene that I thought that I could handle…one that wouldn’t embarrass me too much. When I was finished, Richard walked by, and I asked him what he thought. “Could you get a friend to help you?” was his earnest reply. Ouch!
To make matters worse, one of my friends suggested that I look at the Cochrane, Alberta Mural website, where you can see each individual tile, as well as the whole mural put together. My advice to anyone who is just about to paint their tile for this mural project is “Don’t look”! There was no way that I could have painted any of those tiles…not even the ones that were done by primary school students. I was seriously doomed.
I am nothing if not tenacious. After watching several YouTube beginner’s painting tutorials, as well as running out to our local craft store, I had a simple plan that I believed that I could follow.
Our community’s paint session happened over a lovely weekend on our town’s beautiful beach front. The organizers were friendly, easy-going and encouraging. Like the nerd that I am, I lined up my paint supplies, and my practice painting that I had prepared, and I began. My completed tile will never provoke any genuine “oohs” or “ahhs”, but I was proud of myself for trying…and for not embarrassing myself too badly!
This is one of the great joys of retirement. In my work life, I mostly stuck to what I knew…what I was confident in and what I believed that people expected me to do. In my thirteen months of retirement, I have already experimented with countless activities in which I have very little background. I no longer feel that I need to stay confined to what I believe I do best. The sky is the limit!
Special thanks to the Canada 150 Mosaic Team for envisioning, and actualizing, such a cool commemorative for Canada’s 150th birthday!
Feature Photo: The beginnings of the Parksville Mural