Make It Pretty Merit Badge, Expert Level

The adorable, always humorous MBA Jane is my way of honoring our Sisterhood Merit Badge program, now with 5,602 dues-paying members who have earned an amazing number of merit badges so far—7,898 total! Take it away, MBA Jane!!! MJ

Wondering who I am? I’m Merit Badge Awardee Jane (MBA Jane for short). In my former life 

For this week’s Make It Easy/Make It Pretty Expert Level Merit Badge, I was taking my artistic urges to a whole new place. A whole new level. The Expert Level.


I wasn’t feeling exactly … expert like. Half of my oil painting tendencies were still stick figures and the like. I didn’t think my best work was paintings of people, so I decided to stick to inanimate objects—like trees or mountains or something. Something that didn’t wiggle so much. (Mr. Wonderful posed for me and so did Midge’s triplets, but I gotta say, they all need to work on their Relaxation Merit Badges … talk about squirmy!)

I got out my collection of oil paints and my largest canvas. I had been saving this canvas for over a year, until the Creative Juices struck.

Until I could no longer put off My Muse.

Until the portraits in my mind shouted to be drawn!

Also for the day I ran out of copy paper.

That would be today.

The view from my back porch is ever so lovely at sunset, so that was my aim. I nervously paced through my house most of the day. I checked the time at least 14 times per hour (sunset was set to arrive at 5:05 this evening, according to my friendly television meteorologist). Then I become conscious of the fact that I could start everything but the sunset/sky ahead of time, so I got cracking.

I was so anxious to mar my blank, white canvas that my hand shook on the brush as I dipped it carefully into Cerulean Blue. I momentarily panicked as I second-guessed my knowledge on the meaning of the word Cerulean.

Was it sky-like enough?

Firmly, I gave myself a good talking to.

“Self,” said I, “art is subjective. A matter of opinion. There is no right or wrong. Only art.”

I was feeling much better. Rather sage-like. An art guru. The yogi of oils. The maharishi of paints. The counselor of creative expression.

The Yoda of Merit Badges!

Train you, I will.

Anyway, my confidence bolstered and the sun about to set, I feverishly painted away. (Note: I didn’t really have a fever, it’s just how we artists like to talk.)

I was so obsessed over a particular arch in my garden—getting the greens of the ivy just right—that I completely missed my sunset.


Not one to let anything detour me in my quest for all things merit badge-y, I changed direction and cast a twilight appearance on my painting. Who needs sunsets anyway? Totally overrated. A few twinkling stars in the night sky, both in real life and still life, and I was nearly finished.

My fingers were covered in paint and so were my jeans, but I was feeling pretty good. All I had left was to learn the fine art of framing my masterpiece and then getting up the gumption to enter my creation in the local upcoming art show downtown.

Eek. What if no one liked it? What if they thought it was painted by a monkey?

Or a baby?

Or a someone who just drank a four-shot espresso and happens to be blind in one eye?

Or a baby monkey who just drank a four-shot espresso and happens to be blind in one eye?

I’m not sure I’m ready for this badge … talk me into it.

Leave a comment 3 Comments

  1. Faith perrino-DuBois says:

    I’d say you deserve the merit badge for this and to give yourself an extra one in expert level humor, too – if I’d been drinking across a table from someone while reading this they would’ve gotten sprayed! Thanks for starting my day with a guffaw!! 🙂

  2. Winnie Nielsen says:

    Hilarious, but such a true internal dialogue about being an artist. This sounds like me! Always second guessing about painting and drawing efforts, and that is what keeps me from being more free. It is terrible to be your own worst critic because perfection is never present!!

  3. Karlyne says:

    A very true Portrait of the Artist as a Young Woman! And waaaaaay funnier!

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *