December 9, 2004
Tifton-- The holiday season makes it possible for some artists to do what they cherish-- display their creations for thousands of people to see and appreciate. Artists like to step up and stretch their talents as Michele Massey did this holiday season.
"This is my first time painting on a window," says Michele as she takes steps on a ladder with a small plastic bowl of red paint in her left had and a brush in her right hand. She took a big artistic risk. Instead of having her own show to display her talents she decided to use the windows of a popular grocery store.
Not just one window, but four large panes where she works, her boss giving Michele access to an unusual art gallery of sorts. "I wasn't really nervous," says Michele as she made her first paint stroke.
Her steady hand put artistic life in Santa Claus and his sidekick Rudolph. "The hardest part is getting your objects into proportion," says Michele who works inches from the glass, and occasionally steps into the store's parking lot to get a better view.
She mixes her own paint and wants her creations as authentic as possible. "Santa Claus' gloves are green," says Michele as she makes a few strokes between the black grease pencil's outline of Santa's hands.
Most people would never notice the green color, but Michele does. She makes painting on glass look effortless. "When you enjoy doing something, it's easy," says Michele, like painting between the lines in a kid's coloring book. She spends hours painting, one coat, two coats.
"Maybe three," says Michele. The glass doesn't soak up as much paint as canvas, for example. Then comes the detail work for a perfectionist at heart. "I'm harder on myself than anybody else," says Michele.
Santa Claus would appreciate that. When Michele reflects on her work, she sees minor imperfections that many people wouldn't notice. "Once you start painting it never turns out exactly like you thought it would," says Michele.
Some people would find it stressful to paint big Christmas scenes for thousands of people to see. Not her, even though it's her first one. "It's a stress reliever for me," says Michele even though she stands on a ladder for hours to spread Christmas cheer artistically.
"I want to cheer them up. To be a bright spot in their day," says Michele, a bright spot as intense as Rudolph's red nose on that famous night. Michele worked at least 16 hours on her first window painting, starting something she would never finish, even if she had more time.
"You just have to say 'That's it. I'm through,'" says Michele, after she paints the snow. An artistic memory she won't brush off anytime soon. Michele said she is considering the painting of Christmas scenes on the windows at her home.
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