Sometimes we artists need to create for our own sake…something just for fun, just for us. Having looked for some decoration to fit a tall, narrow space in my house, I finally decided to paint something for that space myself. Last week I found a 24″ x 48″ canvas on sale – just the thing! And a blank canvas to an artist…well it calls to you, beckoning to be filled. So, since Monday was President’s Day, I set myself the challenge of completing the entire painting in one afternoon. I found reference images, roughed out a sketch for proportions, then proceeded to block in the background with the largest paintbrush I own. I wanted to keep things loose, trying to avoid the temptation to overwork areas. And I determined to “draw with a brush”, meaning I didn’t sketch anything in pencil but simply laid in basic shapes with the same large brush I’d used for the background. The result is a painting I’m pretty pleased with! I managed to capture the feel of a windy day with churning water and spray. And, minus a couple tweaks later in the week, I did finish the entire painting in one afternoon. Is this my greatest masterpiece? No…I’ve painted many pieces more technically difficult and creatively designed than this one. However, this piece is a snapshot for me: created for a purpose, for fun, within a time frame. The snapshot shows me how far I’ve come in the last 20 years – from a high school painting student who only used tiny brushes, was always a slave to the reference image, and struggled to blend acrylics (often overworking to the point of creating mud on the canvas). I feel more freedom as an artist than I did back then, and I hope that shows in this painting. Below is the finished work in its intended space at my home.