Thursday, February 5, 2015

Beginner Oil Painting

There was a reason I brought up Hillary Butler's beautiful oil paintings yesterday, and mentioned that I had spent months gazing at them. There was something so impactful to me about her paintings, so much so that (drumroll please!) I enrolled myself in a beginner oil painting class.
You guys, this felt like such a big deal! I was simultaneously excited and nervous. I bought my supplies and packed them all up for the first day. Small jars and tubes of paint and long-handled brushes... in my anxiousness, I got there too early and had to wait in the car. And then I walked into Studio 1.

A couple cool things about my class: it is small! Only four students. So we get a lot of hands-on support and help. Also it is offered at our local Fine Art museum. Isn't that great? I love getting to walk through a museum to go to class. This is the first class I've taken since I graduated from my MBA program, and I forgot how much I love the feeling of learning something new and getting to know classmates and asking questions. There is so much to learn. It is 2.5 hours/week.
I learned a lot in just my first class. The importance of brushes and the rich color of oil paints, the uses for Liquin and how tired your back can get working in front of an easel. But mostly I was reminded of how hard it is to learn something new. It takes so much focus and concentration. It takes practice. You have to learn how to crawl before you can run. Because as much as I wanted to dive right in and start creating "real" paintings, we spent the entire class learning how to blend yellow and red. An exercise that allowed me to begin to get a feel for the paints and the brushes and the process. And that reminded me that discipline is important, and baby steps are important. This was a timely life lesson because it helps me to consider all that the boys are being expected to learn every day, and how hard it must be.
When I got home, Tate asked me what I had painted. I told him the truth- that after almost 3 hours, I had successfully painted only 8 lines (but beautifully blended lines, right?):
You know what he said to me? He told me that meant that next time, I could paint a rainbow. Sweet boy.

I am really glad that I took this leap and registered for the class. There were about a million reasons why I almost didn't. It's expensive. It's not convenient. It's time away from the family. But it was so clear to me when I got to class that learning new things is something I love, and I was glad to be back in a classroom.

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