In Which I Confess to Art.

I painted a lot growing up. Watercolours, mostly. The supplies were always available and it was something I was encouraged to do. Through practice, I gained some skill. I didn’t take a class until university. That class made a huge impression on me.

During third year, I took a class in scene painting with the Theater Department. There were several assignments over the term, and most of them involved creating perspective through the use of line placement and shading. I was very bad at those. Any time there were straight lines involved, I did not excel. The teacher, a tall, commanding man who always surprised me by being more involved behind the curtain than in front of it, never hid his disappointment that I was not a better painter.

Then he handed down the final assignment: Foliage, of any type. We were to copy from a picture. I chose a Monet painting and duly started filling the grids on my four-by-twelve-foot flat.

I worked hard on that flat. I made mistakes. But even a BIG mistake looks small on a canvas that big. And I could always go back and correct it. I loved that ability to change what I had done wrong.

I was in my element. In the big art studio behind the theatre, listening to classic rock, smelling paint and the cavernous dusty smell of that place, up on a ladder, sponging cherry blossoms onto a tree that bloomed long ago.

The teacher came in. His boots rang on the cement floor. He appraised all our work, then stopped when he looked at mine. He was silent, and I made a few more pink splotches on the canvas.

“You did this?” he asked.

“Yep.” I turned to look at him. He was coolly checking out my work.

He was silent for a moment. “Keep working.” But I heard the approval in his tone.

His approval bolstered my painting ego immeasurably. I knew that I could paint, and paint well. Just not straight lines.

I still can’t paint straight lines, but I have spent the evening painting, and I’m happy with my skill.

5 Comments to “In Which I Confess to Art.”

  1. By Arwen, September 12, 2006 @ 12:15 am

    I think we need lots of curvy lines in this world.

  2. By Liz, September 12, 2006 @ 12:42 am

    Curvy lines are prettier than straight ones.

  3. By gen, September 13, 2006 @ 5:38 pm

    I love my painting of curvy lined rocks that you made me.

  4. By gen, September 13, 2006 @ 5:39 pm

    I love my painting filled with rocks of a non-straight lined nature.

  5. By Liz, September 13, 2006 @ 8:34 pm

    Gen, not Emma has a rock painting as well. Only hers are river rocks, not ocean rocks. It was a challenge, seriously!

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