Thursday, April 30, 2015

Watercolour Lessons

still life by me from art class onboard ship
A former principal told me once you shouldn't say you are going to wait to retirement to start something new or something you want to do.  Retirement should be about doing what you enjoy and  learning more about something you already enjoy doing.

I have tried quite a few things in my life and others I haven't.  And for instance, I have never gone scuba diving and I have no desire to do so now that I am retired.  Although I have really enjoyed snorkeling and I like to look at things underwater I am kind of claustrophobic and the thought of all that water over me is not appealing so no scuba diving planned in my future.  I also have no plans to go crawling around in dark caves.

out the classroom window
But I am someone who kind of likes taking classes.  And if you have followed this blog you have probably heard about my going to Spanish lessons and my attempts to learn some Portuguese using iPad language apps.  And I have told you about my knitting lessons.  And lately I have also been learning about identifying different types of ornamental cherries!

In February I went on an 18 day cruise from Rio de Janeiro to Miami (for more details check out my .  I was a little worried about being on a cruise ship that long and about the nine days at sea. It all worked out, but a real highlight for me, was I got to take watercolour lessons on our sea days.  The lessons were only about an hour long but fortunately we had a skilled, former middle school art teacher.  For many of my fellow travellers and me, this became something we really enjoyed and looked forward to doing.
travel blog)

first class demo
I haven't taken much in the way of art lessons but I loved drawing when I was a child but I never really had access to much art instruction.  I think I took a drawing course in the community once when I was in university.  I did a bit of sketching much later,  and I did a one day seminar in watercolours about 10 years ago. I never really liked teaching art and fortunately, usually had a talented art teacher to teach my class.

But after the ship experience, I really began to think about taking a watercolour painting course.  First I did a plein air watercolour seminar with a friend.  It was a bit of a disaster for both of us and we actually quit early and had brunch.

I had already signed up for a watercolour art class apparently for all levels working with spring flowers and given at the nearby botanical gardens.  I was a bit worried after my last experience where I felt totally over my head.  I didn't have the right materials, I didn't even know the particular colours he was telling us to use.

When I got to the centre last week I was greeted by a lovely younger woman who asked if I was looking for the art class because I looked artistic (it was probably the big bag I was carrying).  It turned out she was the volunteer who is helping with the class, but it was nice to be greeted that way.

second class demo
Our teacher was excellent and although, I was a bit nervous, I was quite pleased with the beginnings of my camellia painting.  I left the class quite happy and excited.  But somehow life got in the way and I was busy and the painting didn't get touched again.  Not that we were given homework, but I kind of felt guilty but obviously not guilty enough.  In university I often seemed to carry books around that didn't get read and now I even took my painting equipment to Salt Spring Island but didn't do anything with it.

But no recriminations in my art class.  After my second lesson in this class, I was thinking how much I am enjoying it.  Some people are quite experienced, others are novices such as myself, but our teacher is able to accommodate our differences.  I also really like the people in my class and I love the beautiful setting.  There is a nice sense of community.  I think we are all nature lovers and appreciators of beauty.  

one of my talented classmate's work
I went into class today feeling a bit stressed out and noticed how good I felt by the end of the class.  That lovely sense of concentration.  I can see why my students always enjoyed art class.

Even in retirement I sometimes feel a little driven in a zillion directions.  It's nice to find a quiet place where focusing is required.  I also really like learning new skills.  I like that I am required to be patient.

And maybe this week I will find time to practice!  And perhaps work on that portrait of the camellia.