Painting Class…

by Grant Waddell

So, it was a Saturday unlike any other. I woke up with an anticipation that I haven’t felt for a long time. I could smell the coffee and the faint scent of oil paint, the latter of  which was purely in my mind. A fabrication of a small part of my brain that remembered what it really smelled like when they were on the pallete. Arranged sometimes in a line, other in a semi circle. Cool to warm. I just had enough time to get my brushes and grab a quick cup of coffee and head out the door. It was time to head to Swinton’s Art Supply where I had enrolled in a one day class. A “paint an entire painting in a day” class. I could really get one done! A whole painting! That I’d want to hang on the wall and proudly show off. To show myself that I could really do it!

As you remember if you’ve been reading my blog, I started a painting a while ago and have yet to get back at it and “finish” it. After all, this is a blog about creative exploration. Getting things done and facing my very odd but powerful fear. That little 6×6 board had managed to bring me to my knees. If I stare at it just a bit longer, maybe look at it while eating, or brushing my teeth. Take it outside. Take it for a walk… Somehow, it would come to me. The secret code to breaking this damn flat piece of wood covered in Gesso and a thin layer of oil. Nope.

But an art class! Where I had no choice. Had to “do what the instructor was asking.” Or I would be sent to clean brushes or something. So I arrived at the studio and introduced myself, was told to pick one of the many easels around the room and set up. On the easel was a canvas and to the side was a small rolling cart with pallete paper and several colors in neat little squeezed out piles. And the smell… Oh that smell!

Loretta (our instructor) gave us a brief overview as to what was going to happen which basically was, “I’ll paint this little part of the painting using these colors, and you’ll copy what I’m doing”. Simple enough. We got to work roughing in the basic composition and then went back and forth. Sky first, then the mountain, then the trees on the left, some of the water and so on. A few helpful hints as Loretta walked slowly by tipping her head this way and that, gesturing at a part that needed work. “Your water’s to dark”, that sort of thing. And a few welcome compliments.

After 6 hours, we all had pretty close to finished pieces. All of them completely different. It’s not exactly as I’d hoped but not bad for just getting back into it. Not my color palette or way of working but felt great just the same.