I am not an artist! I have never been able to draw or paint and art classes were excruciating experiences for me in school. I remember in grade eight, my art teacher held up my attempt at a drawing assignment on perspective for all the class to see, and declared in a loud and sarcastic tone, “MaryLou Peters you can’t even draw a straight line with a ruler.” I had to take art in junior high. Art class was on Friday morning and Thursday night I would sit at the desk in my bedroom in agony trying to finish my art homework. My mother, bless her heart, often took pity on me and helped me finish so I could go to bed.
During my teaching career when I would sketch something on the board for my students while trying to explain a concept or idea they would frequently laugh at me or offer to do the drawing for me.
You can imagine my trepidation then, when I found out that the next meeting with a group of friends I have been getting together with regularly since retirement, would include a session of painting–just for fun. “Hardly fun for me”, I thought, but I wasn’t about to spoil things for the other three women in our little group we call the T-4’s, since there are four of us and we all have taught together in the past.
We started our afternoon together with a leisurely and lovely lunch at the Oakridge Nursery Tearoom which serves hearty soups, light sandwiches and sinful desserts. Enjoying the food and the good conversation I could almost forget about the art experience ahead.
Then we were off to my friend Glenys’ lovely home to paint! And guess what? It was FUN! We painted with food coloring and Glenys gave us each a paint tray with little sections in which she had arrayed the colors in complimentary order.
We painted flowers and Glenys had beautiful photographs of flowers for us to look at as samples. She encouraged us to draw ‘large’ and touch the corners of our paper. She had provided different kinds of paint brushes.
My friends were all so affirming and encouraging about my painting that I didn’t feel awkward or inept. Glenys had carefully chosen serene and inspiring music to provide a background to our brushstrokes.
The glasses of white wine and dishes of various kinds of chocolate that Glenys and my friend Debbie provided to compliment our painting session, helped erase any inhibitions I may have had about my artistic capabilities. We had such a good time chatting and painting and laughing together.
Glenys had even bought frames for our paintings and when they were all displayed on a shelf they looked great. I wasn’t even embarrassed about my paintings being seen with those of my three friends who are all naturally artistic.
I may have to re-think my assumption that I haven’t an artistic bone in my body. With a little wine, a little chocolate, the right music, easy to use materials and the affirmation of friends even I can be an artist.