Several years ago--well, a bunch of years ago--I did some oil painting and I enjoyed it. However, I drifted on to other things as my boys were growing up and never went back to oil painting. Last summer I took a picture of two of my granddaughters wading into the surf at the beach and their lithe little silhouettes against the silvery, shimmery water and the puffy-cloud sky was the perfect picture. It just begged to be painted. Then, around Christmas, my brother sent me a lovely picture of mountains lightly dusted with snow that he can see from his house. I had pondered painting both pictures for quite some time, but had not found the right place or time until I happened to inquire about a class I saw advertised. It was close by, the price was right, and the work the students were doing was inspiring, so I signed up.
I spent the weekend looking through all my old oil painting supplies. I need not mention that I almost never throw anything away. As I looked through my brushes I found that the bristle brushes were moth-eaten and crumbling but my sable brushes were still in good condition! My paints were still usable, so I felt ready to begin. I took a trip back in time as I went through my paint box. Most of the supplies were mine, but some, including the box and my very favorite palette knife, belonged to my grandmother who also painted in oils. Just smelling the paints took me back in time, reminding me of summer visits to my grandmother's house where I sat near her easel and did some of my first artwork while she painted.
The morning of the class I began to have butterflies in my stomach. Could I do this again? Would I be able to measure up in the class? Would I remember anything about painting? I almost backed out of going. I know how my kindergarten granddaughter feels now when her mother shoves her out the door on her way to school when she is reluctant to go. I froze on the threshold of the classroom and almost turned and ran. However, I gritted my teeth and walked in to see a welcoming teacher and a couple of friendly students with marvelous paintings. During the course of the morning I did some exercises concerning light and value and am quite proud of the three canvas pages that I did during the morning. When I completed the third exercise the teacher asked if I had painted before and I said yes. Her reply--"I thought so!" I guess I have not completely lost my touch--or my eye for light and value.
I am excited about painting my pictures now, but first I have to go through three more weeks of exercises the teacher requires before I am declared "ready to paint!" Sigh! I would like to begin TODAY!