Monday Art: An apple a day…

Gravenstein apples

Week 1 of my watercolor class

Last week I had my first watercolor class at the RAC. I confess I was slightly apprehensive before I went. I’ve taken so few art classes as an adult, I’m still never sure what to expect from the instructor, the format, or my fellow students.

In this class, there were maybe a dozen or more students — nearly all retired ladies — and of these, I was one of only three who had never taken class with this teacher before. Many of them knew each other from their personal lives and from previous classes, so they chatted away happily.

The teacher, Annette, did a demonstration using a Gravenstein apple from her yard as the subject. She then invited the class veterans to take a few apples and do the same, while she sat aside with us newbies and walked us through the materials list. This was surprisingly helpful, as it confirmed some things I’d already suspected (I don’t need to wash out my palette every time) and informed me on other subjects about which I knew little (watercolor paper). Next time I visit an art-supply store — which I hope will be soon — I’ll have a much better idea what I’m looking for.

After that, I painted my apples (which smelled incredible, by the way!). I know I have a tendency to work small, whether it’s in drawing or in painting, and even though my apples were a mere quarter of the size of my classmates’, they’re still relatively bigger than anything else I’ve painted. This let me focus clearly on shape, color, and detail; I’m thinking now that I should spend more time painting such “large” objects.

Painting of a girl

Painted last Thursday during a writing break

A strange note: I always think that when one goes to a new place, one should be welcomed with patience, kindness, and open arms. In this class I was welcomed in just this way, and it rendered me utterly at a loss. I didn’t realize I had such an inferiority complex (or whatever this behavior indicates), but I had a very hard time responding in kind to the teacher’s and classmates’ generous remarks and genuine interest in me. Quite frankly, my internal reaction was to think: “They don’t know anything about me! I might be a terrible painter! Why are they being so nice to me?” Of course the answer is that they cared about me as a fellow human being, not as someone who may or may not be a brilliant artist. I don’t know why it is so difficult for me to accept this kind of warmth… except that I suppose it indicates I feel I need to prove myself before others will embrace me. I didn’t think I had that in me, and it’s interesting to know that I do! Tomorrow’s Artist Date post will speak to this more.

On the topic of my “apple a day” title for this post: since December I have been drawing/writing/painting one quotation per week as a Christmas gift for my best friend Jackie. It finally occurred to me that these little artworks deserved their own album, so here it is:

Rilke quotation

Click image to view whole album