Monday, May 25, 2015

Blank canvas

On Sunday a group of us from BPYC spent the afternoon in an art class. Maria, the instructor, is actually a grade school art teacher, but turned out to be a perfect fit for us. She brought along everything we would need to complete three different projects: paints, canvases, brushes, palette knives, and most importantly, her encouragement. After a short demo and general advice, she wandered among our tables to lend an eye or  hand when invited.
Seventeen participants, most of us from the book club, sat four or five to a table. I found the blank canvases a bit intimidating at first, but took a leap of faith and dipped my sponge into the paint. A circle of white, expanding to iridescent blue and deepening to midnight, became the background for five birches bathed in moonlight. The birches were created using masking tape to create negative space around long, straight trunks. A credit card turned out to be the perfect tool to blend the hues with gentle curves. We waited for the paint to dry, and then removed it for the big reveal – hoping none had leaked under the adhesive.
It worked!  I was pleased with my artistic effort, and It was great fun to wander around and look at others’ creations. There was so much variety in the execution of the simple theme. I could almost see the little kids coming out in people’s smiles.
During the afternoon we also played with making a few more canvases. Flowers in a field, and hydrangeas in a vase. I didn’t get around to the hydrangeas, but it was a fun approach  that involved blowing bubbles with a straw. The flowers in the field were another technique, using palette knives to give shape to the paint.
Maria’s projects were well chosen. Not only were they simple, they incorporated basic techniques for maximum effect. Everyone seemed to enjoy themselves and we hope to have Maria return again in the fall or winter to lead us through another session.
It made me happy to see how an idea I’d had a few months earlier had taken shape. Last New Year I had made a quiet resolution to take a few art classes. I thought it would be fun to get a group together, and reached out to my BPYC book club to see if there were any takers. There was lots of interest, so I then reached out to a teacher to try to organize an afternoon. The person I found was a bit pricey. That’s when Laura B. stepped up. She found someone willing and able, who could do it for a great rate. Who knows, the session may have inspired more than a couple of members to pick up brushes again. We may need to have an exhibition some time in the future.

No comments: