On a typical evening, at around 7 pm, this is what you will find in my kitchen:

the dishes can wait
The dishes can wait!

Obviously, I’m not very good at the practice of “cleaning as I go.” So, after cooking dinner and feeding the kids, I’m usually faced with this huge mess. While my husband bathes the kids and gets them ready for bed, I’ll clean the kitchen. On this particular night (last Monday), our dishwasher was temporarily out of service and I had to – Wash. The Dishes. By Hand. On top of that, I had a challenge to meet and I was panicking.

In an earlier post, I bought a $100 clothes rack from the art store, I wrote about buying an easel and having it collect dust.  Heather Humann, (who writes the blog Raising Up Humanns,) made the following comment:

Heather Humann says:
January 10, 2015 at 9:01 am (Edit)

I have a sewing machine I just bought, I’m motivated to create, however fear the same demise. Lol

So, I responded with a “challenge”:

Christina says:
January 10, 2015 at 9:09 am (Edit)

How about we meet back here in a few months and share our progress…even if it’s small…are you up for the friendly challenge? I work well when there’s pressure:)


Heather Humann says:
January 10, 2015 at 9:12 am (Edit)

You’re on!

I love challenges. Truthfully, though, I needed someone to give me a little push.

So, I started and this is what I did:

bruce lee

Bruce Lee, always a great subject for pencil studies. But, it wasn’t good enough. I needed to go back to the basics:

sketching a realistic eye

As usual, after the initial excitement wore off, I procrastinated.

But, the self-imposed deadline (March 1) was fast approaching. I started to panic. And, on that Monday, I debated: Do I wash the dishes and clean the kitchen? Or do I start painting? I initiated the challenge. So, I’ve gotta do this.

I was nervous about painting, as I haven’t done it in a long time. I wouldn’t be able to achieve anything adequate in such a short amount of time. Ironically, I chose to do a Van Gogh piece – Starry Night. Makes sense, right? My title should be: “A wannabe attempts a masterpiece!” But I thought the Impressionist style would allow for my own interpretation (translation: accuracy wasn’t that important). As well, the style reminded me that I had a box of my dad’s old soft pastels, purchased back in the early 80s:

soft pastels

And, this is what I did (while husband bathed and clothed little bodies and brushed their teeth):

starry night work in progress by christina

I thought it was decent. Mostly, though, I was thrilled to have simply started.

After an hour of drawing, I tackled the mess in the kitchen. Amazing! There was, in fact, time to “play” and time to clean.

And, the next evening I finished the picture:

starry night painted by christina

starry night painted by christina2
The Starry Night or Scary Night?


So, I managed to complete the challenge. And, really it wasn’t a challenge between Heather and myself. It was a personal challenge. For me, I needed to challenge myself to simply “do it,” to do whatever it is I want to do. And to get things done, regardless of my situation. I am proud: My first “masterpiece” was completed while bare bottoms ran around me and dirty dishes beckoned.