Sometimes, I have vision. In one of my earliest painting classes, we had an outdoor assignment in one of the parks downtown. I think I was about thirteen at the time. The first part of the assignment, were timed sketches of a tree. We each picked a different tree, (about ten of us in the class, spread around the park), and proceeded to do the standard newsprint charcoal sketching, first five minutes, then ten, then thirty...after that, we broke for lunch. After lunch, we returned to our respective trees, and were finally allowed to work on our small canvases in acrylic, in color. (I say finally, because working in color always feels like a kind of reward to me. Even later on, in more advanced color theory classes, it seemed like we would have to wait to get to the best part of using color.) Our professor made it clear that after the realism of the charcoal drawings, that we could do whatever we liked with our trees in paint. No one seemed to want to take advantage of the opportunity to really get to know their tree. I depicted my tree in various shades of deep purple and leaves sparkling in the sun in electric greens...I built up the background in the most drab, neutral colors I could find to show and contrast where this poor tree was doomed to live out its otherwise majestic existence. It felt as though the tree and I understood each other completely. It almost seemed to deliberately rustle its leaves in the afternoon light, just for me. My prof. was thrilled, and so encouraging. I even managed to attract a couple of positive comments from lawyers on their lunchbreaks. (That always shocked me the most...how much of an icebreaker working in an outdoor setting can be.) My work isn't always completely original, (in the more traditional mediums, so much has already been done) but to this day, I get an absolute thrill out of helping to make what I see come to life, out of what appears to be nothingness.