A few weeks ago, my sister asked me why I hadn’t painted for her. “I’m just a beginner,” I told her.  I need more practice and more practice and more practice, and more…

I took a watercolor painting class at the National Academy School in New York two years ago.  In the months that followed, I painted intermittently and by the end of that year, I had given up.  I had numerous paintings that look like blobs of yellow and orange paint that did not resemble a fruit let alone a pear.  Very few turned out the way I envisioned it and this frustrated me.

But, there is something about creating vivid images that led me back to painting earlier this year.  This time, I tried painting with pastels. It wasn’t easy either, but it is a forgiving media and I was able to correct my mistakes more easily and create several paintings that I liked.

Playing with pastels led me to acrylics and then to mixed media. I experimented with different supplies–acrylics, pastels, ink, water-soluble crayons and oil sticks.  I watched endless YouTube videos for several months before I finally decided to take an online mixed media workshop by Juliette Crane last October.

That class led me to creating this:

portrait 1

It’s not perfect but I like it.

I can’t thank and recommend Juliette’s class enough.  Her class made painting fun.  I fingerpainted, splashed ink, and doodled with pastels.  I learned to focus less on how the final piece would turn out and more on the process.

I still cared about the outcome and most of the time, I still struggled at different stages of the painting when it wasn’t turning out as I had imagined.  Still, I kept going. I painted over aspects I didn’t like and kept painting  or I would set aside the painting for a few days and work on it again until it turned into something I liked.

mixed media portrait2

I still have a long way to go but, for now, I am enjoying being a beginner.

P.S. Ira Glass talks about being a beginner.

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