by Cindy Gardner
“I never teach my pupils, I only attempt to provide the conditions in which they can learn.”
Apprehensive but determined, I decided to sign up and get started on my activity list in retirement: painting. I’ve always wanted to paint and have painted off and on a little bit in high school and then again a few years ago, but never really over a long period of time. Both of my grandmothers painted in their retirement and we were always fascinated with what they created. Of course I’ve always had the plastic Crayola watercolor sets, paper and brushes for our children, Natalie and Sam in their childhood years. I always wanted to make sure they had an opportunity to explore art even though I didn’t really know what I was doing as a teacher of art. Sam seemed to take to painting and drawing and most things art, but now as a young father-not so much! Young fatherhood requires a different time commitment at this point for him. I always make sure one of his Christmas presents is a sketch book or pencils though: I won’t let him forget! Painting and drawing weren’t really Natalie’s forte’ even though I know she still has an eye for design and color. She mainly didn’t want to spend time on art, preferring to play school, restaurant, store, make lists or better yet-ride her horse and be outside.
But the paints and the art supplies still stand at-the-ready on the kitchen table when our grandchildren come up, and during the summer, we fortunately get more grandchild time. Chloe (15), Carsen (12) and Callan(8) have both acrylic or oil pieces for the Fair all ready to be entered. Sawyer (5) worked on a watercolor titled, “Ted’s Reds” inspired by a bouquet of red dahlias from our garden named for dad, and Hayden (3) worked on a masterpiece titled, “Ocean.” At three, there’s mainly a lot of dipping of the brush in the water and at least two or three spills of the water cup all over the entire table of everyone else’s work and paints and … you know how that goes!
All that’s required of this grandma: supplies and sets for each child; excitement for what is in progress; encouragement for what might be the next step; help with cleaning up the water all over the table….yet again; and a great, big refrigerator door for displaying their most recent work! And in some cases, unending patience. Instruction on my part is pretty much limited to “a little less water makes the color darker”; “you might want to bring the sky clear down to the mountain top”; “what would look good here?” So, I didn’t really have an expectation of what I was getting myself into with an acrylic painting class.
It was finally my turn to be the art student, but then the questions started rolling around in my head: Are you sure? What if there are people who are so much better and my work looks like….? What if this isn’t your thing at all? How will I know what to do when? What if I don’t hold the brush the right way? I don’t know what color and what color makes another color. Will anyone talk to me? Who else will be there? Am I going to be the oldest? What if they have taken classes before and I haven’t?
Of course my apprehension was short-lived when I started painting on Thursday nights at the Art Accelerated Annex behind the Gallery at 1906 Third Street. I joined a small group of people who are all trying to figure out what to do next with their painting project. Most of us have an idea of what we want to paint, but don’t know where to begin or what color to mix to get the desired shade or what brush would be best. Christine, our instructor, has had years of instruction practice with children and adults, and being an artist herself, knows what will help each one of us grow as an artist. She’s there to help and encourage at whatever our skill level. Another positive aspect of being in a small group of painters is that we get feedback from each other about our pieces: how the petals on the flower have depth, or how we like how the wave is flicking its frothy self all over the canvas. The feedback gives us even more ideas of what to do next or how to keep going. It’s a positive, encouraging environment-a place to delve into your artself. And one of the benefits of learning about your artself? Everything else seems to disappear, and all you think about is the canvas in front of you. A wonderful escape.
What have you always wanted to paint or draw or create? Come join us, the water is warm!!!!
Acrylic Painting Class: Thursdays from 6 – 8 PM at the Art Accelerated Annex, 1906 Third Street, downtown Tillamook $45 for six sessions, supplies included, Christine Harrison, instructor. This class goes through August. New class starts October 10th.
Open Studio: Tuesdays from 1:30 – 3:30 PM at the Art Accelerated Annex…bring your own supplies/some supplies provided/some available for purchase…work on whatever art project you desire with Christine’s help if wanted. $5 per class or 5 for $20 with punch card
For questions or more information: artaccelerated.org