Mari KAtherine Raftopoulos: Making a perfect picture

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Mari Katherine Raftopoulos

As a child, I loved to paint.

Not portraits to hang on the fridge or still life fruit basket paintings made in art class, I loved to paint buildings, fences, walls and just about everything.

Although my parents never really let me have a real bucket of paint, I still found ways to paint the town, and at that time my town was the ranch.

Most of the time I painted items that should not have been painted, or at least that’s what parents thought. But, on the other hand, I thought that everything could use a little sprucing up.

If it was a Radio Flyer wagon that was meant to be red, I painted it white. If it was a rock wall that was meant to be natural, I painted that, too, and even a water sprinkler shed that not a soul would see, I painted yellow. After the job was done, I would sit there and stare at my accomplishment. Even if it was just a rock wall, to me, the transformation was beautiful.

I’ll admit the majority of my work was far from art, but I didn’t mind because what I loved most about painting was the feeling I got when my brush glided across the blank palate.

From red to white, from green to yellow, from natural to modern, no paint project that I took on was the same.

As time went on, my painting days dwindled and instead were filled with basketball games and college applications. But, I never forgot that feeling.

I revisited the feeling this past weekend.

We set out this weekend to do three things a day that we had never done before. This was easy because of our move to a new city. Whether it was having a glass of wine at a new restaurant, attending rugby or wandering the streets of a unique neighborhood, a weekend out of the ordinary is what we were looking for.

With this being our mindset, Sunday turned into another day of impulsive decisions.

The idea came after an adventurous weekend when my roommate and I glanced at the bright mint green wall in our kitchen, looked back at each other, and drove directly to the hardware store to buy some paint.

There was very little conversation in making our decision.

It took us three minutes to pick the paint color and less than that to realize that our amateur childhood painting days were much easier than reality. We had paint in our hair, on our knees, on our faces and in our living room. I guess we needed a little sprucing up as well.

With time, news spread that the new girls on the block were doing some much-needed renovations.

“So, when is the big house warming party? I’m requesting some souvlaki,” one neighbor commented.

“So, you just woke up today and decided to paint your kitchen?” another said.

While most people look at paint colors for months and scope out an entire project, we just did it because it felt right at that moment.

The neighbors came over, cousins were there, college friends and new friends all piled in our small kitchen sitting on the counter, on the fridge and on the floor. Maybe some people just had to witness it to believe it and others just wanted to be part of the change.

In between brush strokes the door bell would ring and our favorite guests would arrive, the adorable trick or treaters.

Before my roommate and I moved to Denver, we joked over countless phone calls about weird landlords and awful colored carpets from the countless open houses that no matter where we landed we were going to paint the town metallic gold and silver.

With each day that passes here, we add some paint to our portrait.

Some days the colors are bright and bold representing the happiness we felt on that day, while other days the colors are more dull and represent an off day or a bad day.

And between the family dinners, dancing through the streets, our almost new kitchen, our new friends and ironic connections, we have started to paint a perfect picture.

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