I Found Out How Much I don’t Know

toddler paint

So I Went to my first art class ever yesterday. (Excluding kindergarten and inpatient treatment activity) It was loads of fun and more than a little humbling. I’ve never used oil paints except for house painting and tend to shy away from them because the house paint is messy and smelly. Also I found out that I really am starting at square one and don’t know a thing about it. It took a good ten minutes to decide whether I wanted the canvas to be landscape or portrait oriented. Then it occurred to me that I had not chosen a subject matter yet.

I was pleasantly surprised that the water-soluble paints are just that, water-soluble, meaning I can wash it right off with soap and water, and they don’t smell bad. A good thing because by the end of the class I had paint up to my elbows and on my face.

I learned how to do a wash, which is just creating a backdrop for the painting. A lot easier than it looks. I was technically painting during the class, I guess. But, mostly I was just trying to get a feel on how to use the paints. Too much turpentine and the paint gets soupy, not enough and it’s like trying to paint with cold cream cheese. The instructor gave me mercy compliments I’m sure. “oh, that’s beautiful, you’re doing great.” I thought to myself “yeah right, I bet you say that to all your newbies.” And a good thing she did too, because I needed encouragement, big time.

The 2 hours flew by and I stood back and looked at my effort so far. Then I cracked up laughing. It looked like I was holding the paint brush with my elbows or maybe standing with my back to the canvas, looking over my shoulder and holding the paintbrush with my toes. If I had been wearing a side arm I would have shot it dead, or chucked it in a bonfire. But you have to start at the beginning, I guess.

I found it interesting to note that the creativity section of my brain felt almost sprained or something. I was definitely in a different and extremely contemplative frame of mine. One the way home someone behind me honked and I looked at the speedometer and realized that I was floating along at 20 miles an hour in a 40 mile per hour zone. I usually zip along at or slightly above the speed limit. So anyway, next week I will go back and try again. I signed up for 10 classes and I’m going to need everyone them.

5 responses

  1. songtothesirens | Reply

    I paint with watercolor….it is infinite how badly you can mess something up. Too much water in the wash, and your paper will buckle and curl. Not enough water in the paint, and you might as well be using acrylics. I took a class once, too. It was fun 🙂 But, then again, so was art therapy…

    1. I tried water colors, but I guess I didn’t get past the too much water phase. I think I’m going to like the oils once I figure out how to use them. I want a little more pop and “in your face” color than pastels will give me.

      1. songtothesirens | Reply

        I also use oil pastels. I like watching my fingers turn different colors from blending 🙂 Never did try oils though. My paternal grandmother was really good with oils. She mostly painted local landscapes (Southwest), and she was also a Master’s in Mathematics and a manic-depressive (untreated as this would have been about 1935 when symptoms would have started). She was an interesting lady. Manic most of the time, as lithium treatment didn’t really get going until the 50’s.

  2. Oils are really fussy, but I think you’ll get a handle on it.

    1. I hope so 🙂 But I’m in it for 10 classes regardless.

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