Old in Art School

Old in Art School: A Memoir of Starting Over is a memoir about a history professor, Dr. Nell Painter, who decides at age 64 to go to art school. She gets a bachelor’s, then a Master’s in art. She’s a professional artist and continues to write, and wrote her memoir in 2018. She spoke at the Northwest African American Museum, and I was happy to go.

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I wish I had gone to art school – in my 20’s.   But it probably works out much better for me to be old in art classes. I’m not scared to experiment and I’m far less concerned about other people’s opinions. And my time is my own, too.

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And since I can’t go anywhere, and I have internet and a laptop, I’m taking art courses: abstract watercolor, abstract oil&wax, intuitive drawing, and courses from MoMA: Contemporary Art, and Sexing the Canvas (gender & art). Whew!

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you are now leaving your comfort zone

How are you doing? I hope you’re well and not too lonely. These are uncertain times, but really, aren’t all times?

Before the virus reached Washington State, I was ready to move back into learning mode and away from production mode. I think there are 18-20 canvasses sitting in the living room (where else) and probably 75 drawings upstairs?

So, I signed up for a mix of online and in-person classes. Then the virus sent us home and my art studio went online! Now art history, contemporary art class joins a drawing class , etc, etc!

The drawing curriculum is from Sue Hettmansperger an artist and professor emeritus, via my art studio (The Miller School of Art). Her own work is beautiful.

The curriculum consists of things like: sit in a darkened room, recording your reactions to noises. Notice that she doesn’t say “draw the sounds” – it’s draw your reactions. And: “Pair intention with a particular mark and its most suitable medium.” It’s an intuitive drawing class. So I’m having to remind myself again and again – I’m not depicting – I’m drawing my responses. Awk-ward!

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one year!

52B0B087-28F9-44B3-B05D-6E466EF117D5.jpegIt’s just about one year since I began drawing and painting with a teacher.

Some things I’ve done:

– color mixing

– color theory

– started using oil paint

– painted self portraits and portraits

– stretched and primed canvasses

– worked with six fantastic volunteer models

– finished two online classes with MoMA (one included painting)

– did five (plus) figure paintings

– put up artwork in a group show

– continued to show up and learn stuff for 12 months, whether or not I was comfortable.

– wow! what a year! thank you to everyone who says encouraging things to me! I appreciate it ❤️