Alaskan Artist - Elise Tomlinson
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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!

falling-leaves (27k image)

Replies: 10 Comments

on Wednesday, November 9th,">mary said

I am a self-taught artist but I remember when I first started learning about art. It was the most exciting thing I had ever done, and I still feel like that.

As for there being a lot to learn, that is what keeps it so interesting these 15 years later.

on Wednesday, November 9th, Elise said

Hi Mary, I agree completely!
(did I spell that right?)

on Wednesday, November 9th, greg said

I know the feeling. My Elise used to paint as a kid, and really wants to get back into it again. I can almost sense a jealous twinge in her when she watches me paint!

Funny, I love the smells, sounds of brush on canvas, brushes clinking in the turps jar, having good tools, ideas, and time to paint ...but for some reason ... I just don't do it. Maybe I set too high aspirations for myself(?) > fear?

Anyhoo, no time to paint now anyway (to answer you past question) - am putting all my time into 3D Studio Max, and drawing/developing characters for my program!

... less competition for you ;) :D

on Wednesday, November 9th, Elise said

Hi Greg, I'm curious to see your 3D Studio Max work, have you mentioned it before? Do you show anything from it on your site? It sounds cool...

and I know what you mean about the twinge best friend is also a painter but he has gotten so involved with his job that he doesn't do it much anymore. When we talk about it, I can sometimes sense that he is longing to do it again himself. I really hope that he will because he has a lot of natural talent and I know that for any artist, no matter how content you might convince the world that you are without creating art's probably a big ole lie.

wow, that sentance wasn't very coherent.

on Wednesday, November 9th, Elise said

Oh, and I love all the smells and sounds too. I think I've written about it before but when I was in Venice one year I smelled terpentine, and I wandered all up and down the canals sniffing until I found this artist's studio. The nose knows.

on Friday, November 11th, greg said

hey! I mentioned the 3D before, I think, when I was lamenting my art and turning my back on painting to persue a certificate program in Game Animation. I haven't really done anything to show yet, still learning the program. Have been doin a lot of concept drawing tho' which has certainly been satisfying. I think this is the best direction to go, as I love pencil work and have the compooter art background. While I utterly loathe to say it, and hate myself when I think it: " I can always paint when I retire." :plain: ARRGH ;)

Did to find and talk with the Venetian artist?

on Saturday, November 12th, subi said

btw, i love your flirtatious titles which always have room for imbedded and multifarious meaning! :P

on Saturday, November 12th, Elise said

Hi Greg, yes, I do remember you talking about it before but I wasn't sure about the "Studio Max" bit, if it was something particular.

Anyway, you're lucky because you're getting to be creative in your day job, and there will always be time to paint...

And subi, I'm glad you appreciate my multifarious nature?

on Saturday, November 12th, Elise said

Oh, and Greg, I did find and "talk" to the Venetian artist...though he didn't speak any English so we shared the "language of love" i.e. art!

on Saturday, November 12th, greg said

nice!!! :D