20 October 2005
a is for art
I love going to the art supply store. all those tubes of paint, the brushes, the oil pastels and pencils and blank sketchbooks, so much promise. in preparation for last weekend's collage workshops with this lovely artist, I got to spend a good chunk of time wandering the aisles of said store. I had forgotten how expensive materials can be and my days as an art major (at a high school for creative and performing arts) seem like a lifetime ago. wow, I love the smell of the art supplies. didn't realize how much I missed that until just recently.
which brings me to the subject of the workshops. I haven't taken an art class since high school. there was a time in my life when I really thought I'd be a writer or an artist but then I chose to dance. and that has truly been the one thing that I have been focusing on for so many years now, the only thing in my scope of vision (and I have no regrets). my love for art has been there all along, though-- making random appearances in my life at different times. art has been in the gifts and cards I've made for friends and family and in the photographs I've taken. witnessing ward's growth as a painter/illustrator/animator/graff writer over the past fifteen years, I suppose I've been living vicariously through him in a million tiny ways. but lately, I have not been so content to sit quietly on the sidelines. I don't know what it is, but these past couple of years... something has really been bubbling under the surface and now I find myself with a voracious appetite to create. and so I finally decided to sign up for some classes because I just got so tired of seeing pieces inside my head and never doing anything. I could never really get myself to sit down and work, something always got in the way and there has been so much rationalizing and crying and gnashing of teeth (oh not really with the crying and the teeth but I have been frustrated).
taking claudine's workshops really got me out of my head and for three days I just sort of played around. hours and hours of messing with various techniques, materials, with color and composition. all the preconceived notions and expectations that have been clouding my thoughts just sort of fell away and I couldn't believe how much fun it was, I had forgotten how much fun it all is! over and over I said to ward, "it's so much fun. it's SO MUCH FUN..." (ward, thanks for listening to me and thanks for taking over with the kids). to come into the classroom in the morning and lay out all my art supplies at the large space at the table, really. just so delicious. and of course, the time flew by. before I knew it, paint was all over my hands and everywhere and I was lost in a sea of bright-colored, crumpled tissue paper and piles of images and glue and wax. it was lovely and I felt like a person on vacation.
but posting my work here has been such a difficult thing for me. I feel all raw and exposed, so vulnerable. but also good, in a strange sort of way. and liberated. does that make any sort of sense to anyone out there? the above piece was done sometime towards end of the weekend and the image of the woman is my great aunt louraine (one of my favorite people in this world). I played around a lot with family images, never really finishing anything. you can see more of the works in progress here. all week, I have been wondering where to go from here. there are no assignments or deadlines to meet. no one to please (but myself). I have the space and the supplies and the ideas and the energy. but how does it all fit in with everything? with parenting? with dancing and teaching? is there really room for it? and so, once again I am lost in my questions and doubts. but then I look at the little pieces I made and I feel happy, an uncomplicated and pure kind of happy. and when I stopped by the school the other day to give ava her milk money (oh yes, she of poncho hair fame), she surprised me with how she so proudly introduced me to her kindergarten buddies... "this is my mommy. she takes ART CLASS." and that was really just all the encouragement I needed.