Remind me to think twice before attending an acrylic abstract painting workshop when I'm feeling under the weather. My first painting to my mind ended up looking like lavender almost-floral wallpaper with a dash of blackberry jam thrown in!
Okay, so it was totally exciting when a checklist of art supplies came in the mail beforehand listing everything I’d need from canvas to paint tubes to some weird substance called “gesso” to a spray bottle to paint brushes to pallet to pallet knives to rags. The glistening white canvas sparkled with creative freedom in all its glorious possibilities …
Then came the big day, this past Saturday. The instructor was a personable professional artist named Mel Grunau who assured us that we could paint however we liked, that there was no right or wrong. Well, that was before he saw me in action, creating what passed in my opinion for attempted art … as opposed to actual, real art.
Anyways, Mr. Grunau gave a demonstration of laying down colors and water on canvas. What fascinated me was that you didn’t even need a brush to start painting. As long as paint hit the white target somehow or other, it was all good. So I carefully picked out my three favorite colors of Brilliant Purple, Chromium Oxide Green, and Cobalt Blue, and was all set to make a masterpiece!
Meanwhile, there were several other acrylic abstract students at the workshop, all female. Most had previous painting experience. One shy soul coyly claimed that this was her first time, but once she got going, I was skeptical. Either she had beginner’s luck or massive raw talent, but this particular lady in my estimation already looked to be professional enough to exhibit and win awards right now. Maybe she had drawn or painted in other mediums like oil or watercolor and meant that she was only new to acrylic paints. Anyways …
Here’s how I wound up being different from the other workshop attendees:
- Everyone else used paint brushes. I used torn up pieces of cardboard with a flat edge. Apparently, everyone else was afraid of getting their hands dirty. Me, I was afraid of getting my brushes dirty. My hands were covered in paint to the point that I might have almost been doing finger painting.
- Everyone else felt the need to put recognizable representational objects or at least easily-guessable symbols into their work, such as flowers in a vase, a clearly-defined beach horizon, or a dreamy image showing what some called koi fish and I called red parrots. Me, I was happy to stick with colors I liked and primitive hints of geometric shapes.
Questions for Readers: Have you ever attended a workshop, art or otherwise, and found yourself different somehow from everybody else there? How did this affect your learning? Or on the other hand, have you ever attended a workshop, fit right in, and taken to learning the skill as easily as a duck to water? Do you enjoy hobbies best in formal groups, with friends or family, or on your own?