Today I went to my impressionistic oil painting class. I have been learning to use oils and the Monet style of painting for a couple of months. I don't feel like Monet. My paintings don't look like Monet's, but I am coming along slowly.
My teacher is Susie. She is an upbeat gal who loves art. She repeats patiently all the painting rules, things that work, things that don't work over and over. I have always considered myself bright and creative. These classes have humbled me. I can't retain these simple rules or make the paint brush shape the image I desire. For example, I dab instead of use controlled brush strokes. I like a color and use it excessively destroying the balance of the values. I labor at painting not in detail. Details don't matter; yet, they do. "Paint dark to light, " she reminds me. Then, she tells me I need to place some light to keep the hues balanced. Oh, my, it is a lot to retain and practice. It is enjoyable but difficult. It takes as much concentration as writing. We all know that takes zoning in and staying in the now. Painting reminds me of writing because sometimes I keep putting off making time for it. I know it is going to involve my whole being , my mind, even my spirit. If I have to be interrupted, I would rather not begin.
Each decade of my life I have tried to learn something new. My extra curricular activities have been varied but so entertaining. For example, in my twenties I learned how to sew and make my clothes and design matching outfits for my boys. Because of my obsessive nature, I purchased yards and yards of wonderful fabric. In a fabric store, I became a glutton. Ideas for new dress designs danced in my mind. I sewed in the evenings, during the day, and often way into the night.
In my thirties, I focused on learning the Bible. I delved into the studies with great intensity. I utilized my language background to study Greek and Latin translations. It was a most productive period in my life and served my soul well.
In my forties I learned ballet. I was quite awkward but I loved it. I even had ballet bars put in my study , so I could practice each night. To my husband's dismay, I performed in a recital at the school where he was an administrator.
In my fifties I began going to more writers' workshops and groups and developed my writing skills. This is the same era that I became a stamp artist and a scrapbook creator. Out went the ballet bars and in came wonderful cabinets with little drawers to hold my 3000 stamps I had accumulated. I loved stamping in the wee hours of the morning creating collages, cards, and scrapbook designs.
Now, in my sixties I am learning to paint. Last winter my sister taught me how to use acrylics. I have played with my watercolors on cold nights when going out in the snow and ice were just too much of a challenge. Now, I am working with oils.
Each discipline has taught me something about art and literature. I suppose my thirty three years of teaching English influenced my choices. All have been a part of God's creative spirit. I have been mesmerized by each challenge. I crave knowledge and discover new ways to learn each day. I have not mastered any of these activities but immensely enjoyed learning and practicing them. Sewing has fallen by the wayside as has ballet. However, I do ballet exercises in water aerobics and remember my hours at the ballet bar. Writing is part of each day as is studying God's word. Stamping, scrapping, and painting are a part of each week. So, I suppose these have had a permanent effect on the quality of my life's journey. Each new art project is so exciting to me. Every morning epiphany from God's teaching creates in me a new passion for life and reaching out to others. I am eager to see what new specialty I will embrace in my seventies.