While looking through some old files, I found a short piece I'd written a good many years ago after seeing something that made me wish I could paint. Here it is below, unedited.
By Nancy Julien Kopp
Out of breath and heart pounding, I make it to the top of the hill. Tallgrass prairie spreads before me, wildflowers springing up between the sharp blades of grass, dotting the hillsides with bits of bold color. Not a cloud mars the intensity of a clear azure sky. The strong breeze ruffles my hair, and I take a deep breath, pleasure encasing my very soul. Soon, the sun will turn to flame and begin a slow descent before the darkness of night covers the rolling hills like a vast blanket.
Oh, to be an artist and capture the scene God has placed before me. But a paintbrush and canvas are useless for a person like me. I can see the spectacular display, but never would I be able to duplicate it with an artist’s tools. I earned C’s in art classes all through my school years, and only for effort, not as the successful result of any assigned project.
I sigh, survey the living prairie once more, and bend to pluck a wildflower. I twirl the blossom between thumb and forefinger, then head to my car. The dust on the gravel road swirls behind me as I drive, and thoughts dance through my mind.
Maybe there is a way to capture what I’ve seen here today. Since I’m a writer, I paint my canvas with words in every story or article I create. That flower lying on the seat next to me—soft as the down on a baby’s head, purple as royal robes, and delicate as lace. All of these phrases describe the pretty little blossom. I bring it close and sniff to catch its sweet scent. I think of more phrases to capture this beauty for others. The artist’s canvas hangs on a wall or rests on an easel for all to see, but my words can live on, too.
The artist may dip his brush into paint and splash it across canvas to portray the sky, while I paint my sky with words—words that articulate, emote, surge the senses, highlight emotions. Can the artist capture the movement of the tallgrass prairie with a swish of his brush? A gifted painter can do so, but I can, too. I sift through phrases in my mind until I find the ones I want. Gentle breezes cause only a slight stir in the stiff blades of grass, but a strong
wind can bring wave upon wave as it surges
swiftly across the prairie. My words flow as easily as the artist’s brush.
I paint my words with passion and excitement. The picture emerges from the
depths of my heart. It is the gift God has given me, a gift He allows me to
share with others who read my work. Kansas
Danny Kaye, actor and comedian, said, “Life is a great big canvas, and you should throw all the paint on it you can.” I, too, am an artist, and I’ll dot my prose with colorful words as long as I’m able.