Calm down, Angela. It's just a vase.

Look! I painted a vase and I actually like it! That never happens.

Roughly once per year, some combination of family members and I will go to one of those paint-your-own-pottery places. I spend lots of time picking just the right piece and just the right colors and desperately trying to squeeze some drop of inspiration out of my brain. I labor over the paint job for as long as I can before someone insists that I stop. I lovingly hand the piece over to the employees, hoping they'll tell me how wonderful it looks. Ignoring their lack of enthusiasm, I anxiously wait the week that it takes to be ready, then I go to pick it up. I get the thing in my hands... and I hate it.

This time, I took the opposite approach. I looked over all the pottery and picked the most practical thing - a vase. I picked a few of my favorite colors, with no idea what I would do with them. I did look through an idea book, but I took vague inspiration from a couple of items and then put the book back. I sat down at the table and started painting. When I finished, I said, "Hey! Look what that turned into!" I handed it off to be glazed and fired, hoping only that it would not turn out to be a total waste of money. I gave it only a passing thought after I left and waited nearly two weeks to go back and pick it up.

Imagine my shock when I asked the girl at the front desk for our pieces (Eli painted a T-Rex) and she said something along the lines of, "Oh, that one's yours? I love it! It turned out so great!" And then I got it in my hands and I actually agreed with her! Now I have a vase that I will be proud to display on my dining room table. Maybe I'll get some more of those beautiful daffodils to put in it...

Moral of the story: If you expect your art to look like crap, then you'll be pleasantly surprised if it doesn't.

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