Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Hello old friend

Study of brain in pink. 1999. Oil on canvas. 36" x 48"

This is one of the last paintings I did. I had another full semester of painting after this but had my paintings stolen. No, they were not that good. Greedy art students steal them for the canvas or the stretchers. It was still a big loss though. My painting got brighter, more refined. I had wonderful painting teachers in college. I got excited about it. Then I entered university, not as an art student, but one in psychology. I hated it. It was dry. It was an ill fit. So then after 2 years I switched to the major in art education. Ah, much better. My classes were in the arts building, overflowing with sculptors, photographers, painters, graphic designers, cinematographers.

I hadn't really done any art since finishing college (college is two years after high school that's required here before university, a little different than everywhere else). I had to take art classes as well as my teaching classes. I found that I was rusty and wasn't as polished as some of my classmates. I stumbled along, falling behind. I took a painting class, hoping to improve. Unfortunately I had a professor who, not uncommonly, could not teach. These university art teacher were not teaching us any techniques just concepts. This, in reality turned out to be How to Bullshit During the Critiques. These people could talk their way out of a paper bag.

Again, I did not fit in. My professor drank during the breaks (a four hour class had a half hour break and the cafeteria sold beer!), so he was useless afterwards. Not good. I stopped painting because it was no longer a joy for me.

The next year I took a printing and dyeing class in the fiber arts department. Oh yes, as my husband always jokes, my degree is in Pure and Applied Basketweaving. Not only did I love this class, I had an amazing professor who opened up possibilities for me. I created fabric prints and then made soft sculptures from them. I was in heaven. This was a perfect fit.

So I have never painted again (aside from a tiny painting of grapefruit that I made for my kitchen). Do I miss it? A bit. I don't miss the mess, or the awful smell of solvent. So I've traded in my paint brushes for a sewing machine. Yes, I think that is a good thing.

Getting back to sewing after such a long period just feels RIGHT.