I’m pretty sure that I am supposed to be artistic:
- I love sipping wine while looking at pictures
- My favourite clothing colour is black
- I am partial to scarves, bold eyeliners, and baggy sweaters with skinny pants
- I like poking around in art supply stores
- I prefer the Monet calendars to the ones with kittens in teacups
- I’m definitely NOT athletic
See?!? Everything about me says that I should be able to pick up a paintbrush and instinctively bring life to a blank canvas. So imagine my surprise to discover that I was the second worst student in my “Introduction to Acrylics Painting” class. There was an older gentleman who was definitely worse than me but I’m pretty sure he was visually impaired and he openly declared himself ‘colour-blind’ on the first day.
Assignment #1 was to paint the standard bowl of fruit. The banana was an immediate problem. It was yellow but not the bright, bumblebee yellow I had paid $8.99 for in the art supply store. Note: the apples were also an odd, purplish red, and the grapes were some weird, translucent green. Nothing in the bowl (which was a sort of sunset orange) had anything in common with the $100+ worth of paint tubes in my $49.99 ‘artist’ bag from the art supply store. Apparently, I was supposed to mix things together. Hmmm…
Every concoction I came up with wound up brown. EVERY SINGLE ONE! Time ticked by. The woman beside me was already pondering how to add ‘texture’ to the background and even Mr. Colour Blind had managed to create a few semi-shaped blobs. Me?… Still standing in front of a blank canvas squirting paint dollops into egg carton cups and creating nothing but a dozen shades of poo.
Eventually, the teacher helped me and I wound up with a brownish-yellow, a brownish-green, and a brownish-red. The fruit was starting to age by this point, so the colours weren’t that far off. The voice in my head cursed the cashier in the art supply store for failing to point out the need to buy ‘fruit’ colours. I selected a brush and prepared to release my inner-artist…
Like a genie in a bottle, my inner-artist proved to be a bit peevish and refused to come out to play. Or maybe she came out, realized that the situation was hopeless, and vaporized. Who can say? All I know is that my right hand refused to do what I wanted it to do.
I said, ‘paint a banana’ and my right hand created a brown-yellow rectangle with what looked like an outie belly button on one end. I said, ‘paint an apple’ and my right hand made a brown-red circle that was kind of flat on one side. And I cannot even describe the grapes… suffice to say that each grape was almost as large as my apples, and they kept overtaking the rectangular banana. The whole thing started to look like a herd of brown-green aliens approaching a brown-red planet in their brown-yellow spaceship.
As time ran out, I abandoned all thoughts of painting the tablecloth and opted to just surround the fruit bowl in brown-blue, which only made matters worse, since it now appeared that my brown-green aliens were travelling across a murky version of outer space. I consoled myself with thoughts that it was only the first class and obviously no one could be expected to successfully depict a bowl of fruit on day one…
Then the teacher cheerfully announced that it was time to share our work. Everyone spun their easels towards the centre of the classroom and I found myself staring at two absolutely perfect bowls of fruit (painted by a pair of British women who had wound up in painting class because the “Scrapbooking for Beginners” was full). There were also seven perfectly acceptable bowls of fruit. And there was the strange creation of Mr. Colour Blind, who had given up entirely on the still life and declared his painting to be an abstract interpretation of his mood. I made a mental note to NEVER get into the elevator alone with Mr. Colour Blind.
“Kim has also gone with a more abstract vision,” observed the teacher, clearly opting to be kind. The British women clucked and nodded their heads. The seven perfectly acceptable students tilted their heads to the left and tried to get-on-board with the idea that my painting had been the result of some deliberate action. Mr. Colour Blind looked a bit annoyed that I had stolen his abstract-artist thunder.
In that moment, I thought, “maybe I AM artistic.” And when I got home, I proudly pulled the canvas out of my $38.99 waterproof carrier from the art supply store and placed it on a chair in the corner of the kitchen.
My 11-year-old said it looked “pretty”. My husband said, “It’s probably great. Art’s not my thing.” And my 17-year-old mumbled that it was “fine” as she moved through the room with her eyes locked on her cell phone screen. Only the dog was honest… because dogs can’t lie. He smelled it for a few seconds then walked a few feet away and began licking his butt. Point well-made my furry friend!
I would like to say that I completed “Introduction to Acrylics Painting” and got better at the whole art thing, but truthfully, I stopped after the week we did nudes because, well… if you can’t paint a banana…
I really don’t understand why I cannot paint because I still feel artistic. Is there a place where sipping wine (dressed in black… with a scarf) while looking at pictures is an art form?