Thursday, January 29, 2009

Battle in my brain

I started my watercolor painting class Tuesday. Funny how something as simple as painting can cause quite a turmoil in this brain of mine.

You see, painting isn't something I would normally do. The last time I painted anything or even did a drawing I was in elementary school. That's how long it's been since I've used that part of my brain.

I figured this class would help me unlock my artistic talent. Everyone has it, right? (just nod and go along with me on this one).

Unlocking my inner Van Gogh turned out to be a lot harder than finding the solution to an engineering problem, or working a differential equations problem. And yes, differential equations is an actual class that yours truly took in college.

I arrived at Millsaps early so I could find the location and a parking space. I got out of the car and hurried into the building, carrying along the huge 18" by 24" pad, my purse, and the supplies. It was quite a comical sight. I managed to get into the building without knocking the wind out of a poor student and without too many people laughing at me.

The teacher is one of those people who inspires you to do your best. Very nice, and very encouraging, just what I needed. She set up a bunch of things on a table for us to replicate. Here is where the battle began.

I'm an engineer, and I analyze everything, including how to replicate a metal can and a rubber ball on my pad. I kept watching the people in the class happily drawing, while I struggled trying to figure out the right angle, making sure the distance between the objects was precise. You get the idea.

I was beginning to get frustrated when the teacher (who probably noticed my eraser had been put to good use in the last 5 minutes) said "we all see things differently, how boring would this world be if we all drew the same thing the exact same way".

That was my "aha!" moment, my epiphany. Unlike most of the class, painting isn't something I normally do. I haven't taken other classes, I didn't take art in college. The way I see a simple metal can is completely different from everyone else's, and that's perfectly fine.

I finally began to relax and started painting. I felt like a kid with a new box of crayons, ready to create my own masterpiece. I started to have fun.

I finished my painting last night, and as I looked at the finished product I realized it reflected who I am. Isn't that what art suppose to be? Shouldn't it reflect the way the artists saw the subject?

Anyone with any bit of artistic flare would probably see all the flaws in the picture. I see myself in those metals cans, and rubber balls. But I also saw something new, I dared myself to think outside the box, to mix colors that I would not normally put together and to even color "outside the lines". I dared myself to try something new and I stepped outside my comfort zone.

I'm looking forward to the rest of the classes, and see how my paintings progress as I become more comfortable with that other side of me. In the meantime, I will keep reminding myself it is okay "to color outside the lines. "


Nicole Bradshaw said...

I LOVE those Millsaps classes! Amazing, isn't it, how, when we're IN school, all we want to do is get out. And when we're finally out, we take classes! Ha!

From the Doghouse said...

Sounds like you found a good teacher who knew how to reach you like you needed to be reached.

So, when do we see the picture?

Deanna said...

I'm with Doghouse... can't wait to see your beautiful art.

My son has a teacher at school who assigned them a project. Every time he tries to get it approved, she says it is too "creative". He told me the other day that his teacher doesn't like students who "color outside the lines." Maybe I should suggest this class to her?