Seeing all the art in person at The Smithsonian Museum of American Art, as well as the National Gallery of Art, the Hirschhorn Museum, the Freer and Sackler galleries and many other influences during my incredibly long summer trek, really motivated me to attempt painting for the first time ever.
As a kid, I liked to draw. I wasn’t ever very good at it, but it was fun. In high school I took Art instead of band, and it was taught by the new band instructor, so we were kind of on our own. It was a period of time when I would sit and draw stuff on a semi-regular basis.
Having no formal art training, it’s weird to me that I’m finding painting somewhat easier than drawing. Oil painting, I should clarify. I have no idea how to paint with acrylics, tempera, or watercolor, etc. But it was oil that I really wanted to learn, so when I realized I’d have a semester off from school and KCC was offering the class it seemed like a cool idea to give it a shot. Art 123, is an introduction to painting class which is done with oil paint. Usually you’re required to have taken Art 101 and Art 113 (Drawing) but it was waived this semester– yet another sign for me to take it!
So far we’ve submitted two projects, and are working on a third. I don’t really get what we’re doing, but it’s interesting anyway. Nobody’s art looks like anyone else’s, and I find it all pretty neat and cool to look at. The instructor actually gave my technique high praise for my second project, which made me feel somewhat bold enough to determine I could actually paint something for a good friend of mine who has a birthday coming up.
My second piece submitted for class
I’ve been working on my friend’s painting since last Friday. The piece involves a scene I photographed recently, and that I really like. It’s a still life with a cat in it. It’s a highly personal piece because I know the cat, and I took the photo that inspired me to paint it. So, it’s a slice of life from my friend’s place, and it’s a highly personal endeavor, because there’s also the fear of doing a shitty job. To feel like I can paint something that my friend sees every day, sounds arrogant to me. I’m worried I won’t be able to pull it off. After all, I’ve never painted before the semester began, and never drew scenes like the ones I’m painting in class… ever. So, there’s an internal voice in my head that says: Who the fuck do you think you are? And then there’s another part of my brain that thinks: Fuck it. It’s a cool idea, he’s gonna like it… it’s very personal… blah blah blah. So there you have it.
I’m appreciating oil painting and hope to continue it throughout the rest of my days. I’ve spent a shit-ton of money I hadn’t dreamed I would on paints, brushes, an art bin carrying box, a portable easel so I could paint outside of class… second set of paints, second art bin (bigger) box, more thinner, more linseed oil, and more brushes to be able to do this piece I’m working on outside of class… and I haven’t even bought everything on the suggested supply list yet.
The main colors I’ve been working with are Winsor & Newton: Phthalo Blue, Alizarin Crimson, and Cadmium yellow pale. I also bought Burnt sienna, a large tube of Titanium white, and ivory black. It was suggested I pick up Mars Black, but I ended up with ivory black due to Fisher Hawaii’s Mars black looking very very old. There was a 30% off sale that ended yesterday, so I was stoked to get some paint.
I still don’t know if I will finish the birthday painting in time. But, plan to work on it tonight and throughout the week. The thing is that each layer has to dry a bit before I can continue, so multiple sessions have to be done. I also have class on Tuesday and Thursday so I need to work on my class projects on those days. I tried working on both pieces on Saturday, and felt incredibly tired and drained after touching each piece for a few hours. When I paint, I realize after a time that my facial expression is very determined and almost angry. I get tense and tired after each session and all my concentration is focused on the piece and my overall dissatisfaction with certain aspects of what I’m putting down (or not putting down) on the canvas.
Let’s do the where I’m at part:
So, this year I started gardening for the first time ever, and painting. I’ve also changed my career and scholastic goal from Chemistry professor, to archivist or academic librarian. I’m applying to grad school and hope to begin in January 2015, and overall life is good. My personal life is getting better… or worse. Who knows? Not me. I can never tell what all this shit means, but usually in the end I’m all right no matter what so, I’m gonna wing it and know it’ll all be fine.
It usually is only once every so many years that I meet anyone I’m attracted to, and I’ve only ever met four people I could not really get out of my head until I dated them. And that spans back to 1991, so… you do the math. I guess my DNA is either incredibly picky, or alarmingly lazy, or just plain defective since I’m still single and have yet to propagate. Actually, I really don’t want to have kids. This is something I’m becoming more and more positive about as time goes on and I watch my peers and my sister and the task of parenting. It’s not for me. I have no such desire. I’m cool with being an aunty, and that’s it.
I’m hungry and my stomach is making loud gurgling sounds in the library.
I still have feelings for my ex.
I need to get my statement of objectives done, and have given myself a deadline of October 15.
I’m content with my life. Comfortable. Feeling better these days, and happier.