Art for beginners

Last night I went to my first art class in twenty years.  Yes, twenty.  I never thought I was that old.

I gave up art at school as we went into Standard Grades, so, age 13.  I liked some bits of school art.  Printmaking was reasonably fun and sometimes the drawing exercises were OK.  I remember drawing part of the Templeton building (by the way, there are some great prints of the Templeton building along with other Glasgow landmarks at Stephen O’Neil digital art).  On the other hand, I found poster paints to be a really irritating medium.  And, most of all, I got frustrated that I couldn’t achieve a totally accurate representation of what I saw in front of me (the poster paints really didn’t help).

I played a bit with calligraphy, watercolours and drawing Celtic knotwork on my own but by my second year in university I really wasn’t making any art any more.

Recently it struck me that maybe art would be more fun now I have learnt to loosen up a bit and not have to try to be the best at everything (I am pretty much the worst in my pilates class for example, and I certainly started knitting group as a raw beginner).  Also, a lot of the art I like now is not representational.

I happened to tell my sister about this and she got a recommendation from a colleague for a beginners’ drawing and painting class which includes abstracts.  So, off I went.

I was surprised to be quite nervous beforehand.  I think some of this was first-day-at-school where-are-the-toilets nervousness but also I had no idea whether I could still draw anything!

I was a bit daunted by drawing at an easel for the first time since playschool.  But it was nicely absorbing.  After a whole bunch of admin stuff and explanation of the course, we did some drawing exercises – drawing left handed, drawing a continuous line, drawing without looking at the drawing (hilarious!) and then draw a still life “properly” for half an hour.  I’m sure one of the aims of this was to see where we all are in terms of skill.  There’s a wide range – from virtually never drawn before to a graphic design professional who wants to draw in a less rigid form.  But the teaching does mostly seem to be one-on-one, so it should work I think.

My result was a bit patchy.First drawing

Well, I could definitely draw better when I was 13.  And I think I preferred my left handed drawing to this one!   However, I did have fun.

Things that I’m looking forward to in the next 9 weeks
– the week after next is Art Nouveau which should be fab
– I’m really hoping that the week I have to miss due to another commitment is not the week that we do abstract expressionism!

Things I am nervous about
– while I’m definitely looking forward to the life class, I am still feeling slightly weird about it.  The number of adults I have seen naked for any length of time is still remarkably few.
– I have a nasty feeling that the surrealism week, where we have to draw our dreams, might need me to draw something out of my head, and I *cannot* draw without something in front of me!

Well, we’ll see how it turns out!

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