Sunday, July 11, 2010

My First Art Lesson

I'm not an artist. I'm not even someone who really enjoys looking at art. I only go to art museums when my wife makes me, and even then, I'm usually ready to leave long before she is. I don't oogle over such-and-such's fabulous play with colors and shapes. I can't seem to find the art in what most call "modern art". I guess I'm just an uncultured heathen. But I am the artist's husband.

Strangely, on this so-far small journey into the world of professional art, I've become slightly excited about the prospect of creating my own artwork. I have always appreciated a fine hand at any task, be it bowling or ballet, singing or sumo. I appreciate talent, at least what I believe to be talent. Unfortunately, however, I've never had it myself. I'm one of those people that can do anything, and do it moderately well, but I've never been "great" at anything. I'm also one who doesn't like to be anything less than "great".. or at least fairly close to it.

One of the ideas that we've decided on to continue to promote my wife as a professional artist, and hopefully cement her name in the annuls of time, is for her to begin teaching. About a month ago I asked her to give me a lesson. It was a disaster. Basically, we clashed. As only a stubborn Ukrainian woman and a hard-headed American man can clash. Apparently, art instruction is very different in Ukraine. The teacher sits you down with your paper and brushes and water, then directs your attention to the subject, whatever that may be, and says, "Paint". Well.. that doesn't work with me for a number of reasons, the first being that I DON'T KNOW HOW TO PAINT! Of course, this little fact didn't seem to matter to my dear wife, but I thought it was a bit of an obstacle that I would need some help to overcome.

Did I mention that I'm not an artist? If asked directly and pointed in the right direction, I can pick out watercolor paper, watercolor paints (there are only two kinds, right?) and may even have a 50/50 shot at picking out a watercolor brush. Thats about the extent of it though. I don't know how to hold the brush, what to do with the paper, how much water the brush needs, how much paint it needs, or even how I'm supposed to get the paint. I don't know how to mix paint, spread paint, blend paint, apply paint, nothing.

Me being the logical and step-by-step person that I am, coupled with the fact that I have viewed painting as a science (much as I view everything), I was hoping for some instructions, a step-by-step guide, at the very least, to know the proper way to hold a brush (which I still don't know, btw). But what I got was, "Paint".

We didn't talk about art instruction for a few weeks after that...

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