Sunday, March 30, 2008

Painting Class

"Zinc white, cadmium red, quinacridone red, cadmium yellow,Hansa yellow, cerulean blue, cobalt blue: the names were as beautiful as the colors. Elizabeth squeezed a blob of each in a careful line along the top of the glossy freezer paper that was her makeshift palette." Art's Blood, p.241)
I am not now, nor have I ever been, an Artist. But there was a time when I had lots of fun playing with paint. Elizabeth's painting class was based on a studio class I took for years at Asheville's AB Tech community college. I love playing with color -- and painting's quicker than quilting, my other artistic outlet. So I signed up for a beginning class. We had a wonderful teacher -- Fleta Monaghan ( )-- who has the gift of helping anyone, no matter how unskilled or uninspired, become a better painter.

After the first class, I joined a weekly studio class where we painted what we liked with Fleta always there to give encouragement and suggestions. ("Vicki, have you considered taking a drawing class?) My favorite thing to paint was big flowers -- not so much drawing (my real weak spot) and lots and lots of color.

Getting lost in painting is like meditating -- bringing your attention to bear on one little thing and shutting out everything else. I've been surprised to find out that many writers are also amateur painters but I think the two go together well. The attention to detail -- learning to see how the light lies just here along this delicate curve or distinguishing the various shades and hues that lurk in a "green" leaf --- that attention, brought to writing, must add depth and richness.

I know my time in painting class enriched my writing. And I love manufacturing "painterly" descriptions of Elizabeth's world. But as I write this I realize: I miss the paint.
Posted by Picasa

No comments: