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:
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.
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.