11/08/2005: "Do you remember your first time?"
I have an older co-worker who has recently started taking art classes at the university where we both work. She's taking her first oil painting class this semester and has a lot of questions about techniques and materials. Itís been good for me because it has forced me to really think about how and why I've ended up doing things the way I do, and to consider what qualities I like about canvas vs. panel or oils vs. acrylics etc. taking stock is generally a good thing.
But it's also fun talking to someone who is discovering everything for the first time. It reminds me of how I felt when I took my first private art lessons, back when I was 11 or 12 years old. I would look forward to them so much, they were expensive and it meant a lot to me that my parents believed in me enough to pay for them; they were always incredibly supportive of my desire to be an artist and where I grew up that wasn't a common attitude to have towards the arts.
I remember how my heart would start pounding every time I went to my instructor's home, all the materials were mysterious and foreign, all the smells exotic, so many little tools and gadgets to play with, there was always something new to learn. Sometimes as an adult I'll get a whiff of a gum eraser or cement glue and it will take me back to that little basement studio where I fell in love for the first time.
They say it's never as good as the first time, but I don't believe that. I still find myself, all these years later, heart beating wildly as I sit at my easel, putting little marks of color here and there. It hasn't lessoned at all, if anything, it has grown more intense with time. And there is still so much to learn!