By Aletheia Schmidt

They sat around me, eager to try, but unsure of what would occur over the next hour. “Would it help if I gave a brief tutorial?” The students who had given up their Friday night to “Paint with Aletheia” nodded in unison.

“So, first things first, I paint for three reasons. I paint to pray, I paint to play, and I paint to try and figure out what the heck I am thinking. That being said, feel free to do any of that here tonight.” I grabbed an old piece that had been sitting off to the side, one that I had painted a few months ago and didn’t like, and began.

I continued talking as I worked with my base of black. Swirling it around with my hands and then with a miniature paint roller, I covered most of the paper. For a final touch I used the atomizer. Next was the eye dropper. I splattered several bursts of umber and spread them around with a business card. And then, one final color. Lime green. Again, I took the eye dropper and moved the green liquid from the bottom to the top, creating a flow of lines, lines that were connected to one main source, lines that made me happy.

I put the painting aside and began passing out sheets to the students. And after the paintings had been painted, the conversations shared, the brushes rinsed and the carpet dabbed, my eyes returned to my demonstration piece.

It’s funny how something so unplanned, informal, and seemingly random, could speak to me so much. As I looked closer at the colors, textures, and movement, I immediately thought of how similar this painting was to me. That first layer that had been painted over still seemed to poke out a bit. Interesting. Brown and golden swirls against a blackened background. Fascinating. And green branches jutting forth from the bottom. Incredible.

Just when the first draft didn’t seem right, just when the black seemed to take over, just when the swirling and whirling seemed to distract -- life grew. And it continues to grow -- beautifully, unhindered, far-reaching, and better than before. A discarded piece given a second chance and turned into art after all.

In fact, I think that describes pretty much all of us -- don’t you?