Five to Try January – Art Class Update (aka Blue on Blue)

It’s a new day, and I still have a lovely souvenir from last night’s Sampling Media class with Gainor Roberts at Carrollwood Cultural Center.

Nice, huh? I look like a Smurf. And trust me, I washed my hands several times last night with both turpentine and soap, and here’s how it still looks this morning. Oh well. Should make networking fun tonight. Wouldn’t you want to shake hands with me? My fellow student and neighor last night Jennie called me a painter exploring her Blue Period. Yeah, I guess you could call it that. I knew I wanted to get out of the fall colors from last week and try something different (i.e., get a different color paint on my clothes, body, face, etc. and with regard to that, mission accomplished).

Last night, some students wrapped up their projects from last week before launching new ones. Not me, I was raring to go from the moment I walked into the room, new canvas in hand and heavy, bulky bag o’ tricks lugging behind me – at 6:59 p.m. (Whew. It was not a good day for punctuality yesterday…of course, with me when is it?)

I had picked out a picture from home from my 2010 Picture-a-day Photo Blog that I maintained all year, a visual one that I just happened to spot as I was getting ready to leave a parking lot and had my camera handy in the seat beside me. The symbolism knocked my socks off so I just had to snap away…and I ended up with this.

Yes, the sky really looked like that. Even through my dirty front windshield. Beautiful, huh? Almost looks like The Simpsons opening, right? I wish I could show you what I ended up with this week when I translated this photo into oils but it’s drying on top of an art classroom cabinet right now and I missed my opportunity to photograph it when the teacher put it up front on the easel for class viewing.

I missed a lot of things last night. But guess why? I was so enthralled in what I was doing that I lost track of the time and before I knew it nearly 90 minutes had passed. The only other time that I truly lose myself so much that I completely lose all concept of the time is when one of two things is happening: when I’m golfing and when I’m writing something that I truly enjoy creating. So by the time our teacher showcased my “blue material,” I didn’t even think to reach for my camera. Of course, the way my hands probably looked at the time, it may have been a smart move in hindsight. I promise I’ll share the final result next week…

But I did get to snap one of the other students’ work again before heading out of the classroom – this time, Ellen’s take on flowers. We’re all getting pretty good at tackling that subject.

I like the way the flower really jumps out from the background. My other neighbor Beth painted a flower too, an eye-catching red and black number. I’ll try to snap hers, too.

We’ll be venturing into Acrylic Land next week. Sad fact is I don’t even know what that means. I have my little info sheets to review but I’ve discovered already that until you begin working with the materials, you don’t really understand what the medium involves.

I did better at dressing this week – dark brown shirt, black pants (no light pants and ecru shirt this time), so I’m learning. I am wondering if anyone has yet invented an all-body saran-wrap smock that I might simply don over my clothes each Wednesday night. It would certainly be helpful for me as I’ve already determined that I am by far the messiest “artist” of the bunch. And I’ve earned that distinction by a mile, trust me.

You know, when yesterday’s class started, our teacher shared some of her own personal stories about how art was a way of expressing herself that others around her didn’t always “get” – an early school teacher, some family members, … and she explained that when we brought our work home to our significant others to share that we might not get the positive or encouraging reaction we could be expecting.

I realize now how lucky I’ve been. I’ve always had the support of my folks who tell me that everything I write is a masterpiece and my husband who compliments and applauds all that I set my mind to do. I’ll admit that I forget that not everybody has that kind of unconditional cheering section, and while I certainly can’t look to them for objective criticism or feedback (and that’s fine – because that’s not really their job, is it?), we should all have that person or those people somewhere in our lives – whether they are a significant other, good friend or parent or other family member – that we can count on for always high-fiving us as we round the bend on the race track, whether we’re placing first or eighty-first.

I didn’t have a lot of confidence in myself when I started this class, because deep, deep, DEEP in my past, some people said things about my “art” back then that really stuck with me, like a little tape recorder lodged in the tiniest crevice of my brain telling me that I can’t do this sort of thing, that I’m not artistic, and despite how long it’s been and how I’ve been able to show my creativity in so many other ways since then, I’ve been playing this recording over and over and over since that time…even when I was studying humanities in college and really felt like I understood art, even when I was admiring great works in the exquisite European museums that housed these treasures and truly believed that I appreciated the mood or message being conveyed…there’s always existed this insecurity about any artistic vision or ability inside this goofy writer’s head and heart.

What I’m beginning to understand is that it’s about finding a little vision, a pathway to what you’re trying to create and as long as what you’re building represents that vision honestly, you’ve created a work of art. It may not be something another values, appreciates or would even buy, but unless you’re planning on building a business based upon this artwork, it’s not about others’ interpretations or assessments of your art. It’s about your own.

Wouldn’t it be something if we could all tackle our jobs, our family happenings, our own lives and journeys to find what makes us happy with that same honesty, creativity and to-hell-with-em gusto?

Maybe we should…

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