Friday, August 17, 2012

Artsy Fartsy Friday - Time to Learn Something New!

The brand spankin' new school year starts soon in most parts of the northern hemisphere - think of all the new things kids will be learning. But learning doesn't stop when we graduate (I hope!). I think we should all make a point to learn all the time, but especially to delve into something new and different.

Since this is artsy farsty Friday, I'm going to suggest that all my readers think about learning something new and creative this fall. You might take a class, or you might get a good book and learn on your own. Ideally, both. What to choose? I'd suggest something you've always wanted to try but, for one reason or another, you never have. What's the worst that can happen? You spend a few hours trying something that you find you really don't enjoy. At least you'll have tried, and you'll probably walk away with a better understanding of what that pursuit really entails.

Fancy, 16 x 20

Or you might discover that you really enjoy painting or writing or dance or.... You might even discover that you're pretty good at something that you've spent your life thinking was beyond your reach. That was my experience when, after years of saying "next year, I don't have time," I finally signed up for a watercolor class several years ago. And then drawing. And then drawing with colored pencils. I was convinced by a grade school art teacher that I had no talent, and I spent the next mumble mumble years convinced that she had been right. But I LOVE the look of watercolors, and so I finally took a chance. I made some really ugly stuff for weeks and weeks. But I took another class, and another, and a few workshops, and I read, and I painted every day, and I got better, and found a new love. A bonus discovery was that painting helped my writing, which makes perfect sense because creativity feeds creativity. Fancy, above, was the first painting I ever sold.

When I had learned a little about watercolor, I decided to take a colored pencil class taught by Diana Fair, who became a good friend as well as an inspiration. And let me tell you, I was terrible! I didn't like using the pencils, and I didn't like the results of my efforts. But I signed up for a second class, mostly because several of my friends did and we had so much fun together that I was willing to suffer through. I practiced, and I read some books, and then something clicked into place and I found that I really like working in colored pencil and that I'm not entirely devoid of ability. Here's a colored pencil portrait I did of my lovely Jay.

 When was the last time you learned something completely new (to you)? What are you waiting for?


Sheila will be teaching "Creative Writing for Artists" and "Nature Writing" at the Cameron Art Museum in Wilmington, NC, in September-October. Beginners welcome! And check out their other great classes - I might take something, too.

To find classes near you, check with your local public school system, universities and community colleges, museums, and arts or writing organizations for non-credit classes.

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