This semester I signed up for an acrylic painting class at the Y. It was the first painting class I've taken since junior high -- and the reason why I haven't written much about it is because, frankly, I didn't really like it.
I'm trying to figure out exactly WHY I didn't care for it. Earlier in the year, I participated in a Paint-Along New York class and had a blast. Plus, the teacher at the Y was great. He was interesting, caring and encouraging, all of the things you'd want from an instructor. He never had a bad word to say to anybody, even if his or her work sucked. Some of my paintings were pretty awful, but he always found something to admire.
Still, the class itself was pretty dull. For one thing, we were all confined in our own little spaces behind our easels and tables, so no one really socialized. Yes, I get that we were there to learn, but one of the things I love about my jewelry classes is that we work AND talk. We're all incredibly busy, but have had some fascinating conversations as we make our pieces. Painting felt a lot more lonely.
I was also turned off by the cost of the class. This was a short session, only six weeks, and it was listed as a beginner class. However, we were encouraged to buy professional level supplies -- which ended up costing more than the class! I refused to buy 20 different colors of paints because I wanted to see if this was something I intended to continue. Instead, I purchased red, blue, yellow and white paint and simply mixed the colors as needed. We were also told to purchase all kinds of brushes, canvases and top coats, none of which I ever used. We were even instructed to get expensive "painting towels," when a plain, old paper towel worked just fine. I ended up using the specialty cloth towels to clean our fridge! I'm all for having professional supplies ... if you intend to pursue something at an advanced level. I own a set of enamels and enameling tools because I've been doing the craft for years. However, I didn't buy these supplies until I knew I needed them. I now have all of these painting tools, which I'll have to return or sell. I wish our teacher had started us off with the basics.
Last week my teacher was ill so we had a sub. She was really sweet, but sooooo anal. She made me line up my paint tubes and brushes in the exact way she does and kept moving and organizing all of my stuff. For the record, I am NOT unorganized. I just don't have everything lined up in military rows. She drove me crazy and I almost walked out in the middle of class. It took a lot to keep my calm when she kept grabbing my things.
I think it was the seriousness of the class that got to me the most. I take my jewelry making classes seriously, but I don't want to be a painter. I simply wanted to take a FUN class and maybe learn something as I did so. However, my teacher treated this as if it were a college course and went into detail over every line and brush stroke. The information he shared is very important if you want to truly learn painting -- but I was obviously in the wrong type of class for my needs. I was looking for a light-hearted class where I could blow off some steam; this just wasn't it.
Now that I have all of these half-used supplies, I might try painting on my own. I'll definitely take another Paint-Along class. I still think it can be a lot of fun; I just have to find the right type of class.
Meantime, check out my handmade wire wrapped and enamel jewellery at Naomi's Designs and MayaGirl Creations. And check out LOVE NOTES, the music romance anthology which includes my book, REVENGE OF A BAND GEEK GONE BAD.