by Tiffany Lepack
Colours fascinate me.
Each colour and the texture on the canvass tells a story.
I have a secret that not a lot of people know about; I love the world of art and the adventure that it can bring. My best friend since high school recently told me that she was excited that I was so crafty. I do not know why I have hidden this talent of mine for so long. A girl has to have some secrets after all!
Oil painting would be my first love, because of the texture, the ability to mix it on the canvas and of course Van Gogh.
One reason that it has remained hidden is that I do not think I am that good! My husband sometimes sneaks into our third bedroom where I have my easel set up and tells me it’s like his own private gallery just for him.
Sure I have confidence in myself, I love the praise from him and the select few who have seen my work but I am also a realist and I know I have no formal training whatsoever.
Well that all changed this Spring, I had promised myself I would one day take some lessons and with some time on my hands I made that fateful inquiry with a local artist who I admired.
Why did I do it after so many years of yearning to be a real artist? I wanted to challenge myself and see if I could learn something new after all these years studying work from afar but never first hand.
The main reason I have been attending these lessons is the outcome and journey is solely for me. How often in today’s society do we as women and wives take the time to do something that makes us happy? I know the answer for me was not very often. As women, we are the ones who tend to care for our family and typically we come second. This is not a bad thing necessarily; we have motherly tendencies that tend to rise to the top and other duties to perform in our homes.
But every now and again we need to put ourselves first and that is extremely hard to do.
So, with my painting lessons I am determined to do it for myself and achieve my goal of finishing my first real painting with a teacher.
The first lesson, I was nervous to say the least. I arrived at Kevin Dodds (http://www.kevindoddsart.com) studio in downtown Arnprior, almost 30 mintues early. Kevin was going to set me up on my canvass and wanted me to bring a few pictures of what I wanted to paint.
I brought a number of pictures and I especially liked the ones from the Tulip Festival, we decided that a field of pink and yellow tulips would be a good starting place.
I had never before started a painting by drawing my vision out on paper so this was something new, he helped me break it in to four quarters and we lightly outlined the tulips.
Kevin is an easy teacher and is well schooled in a number of different mediums and styles; if you just look around the studio everyone is different.
Sometimes he comes around and says ‘perfect keep going like that’, other times it’s an ‘ummm I think it needs to be darker’ or ‘let me take your brush’.
It is interesting to hear him suggest blue to the base of a vibrant pink tulip but he is right it brings out the tones in the pink and red. Half the fun is trying to mix the red and white to the right shade of pink and then layering on the thickness on the canv.
Sometimes, I sit and stare as a mix four different tubes of green to make the perfect leaf, which have been the bane of my existence for the last three weeks.
I have definitely been working on my patience, as I try to perfect these leaves. I stare at them but all I see is green, I hope they look like leaves in the end. Every stroke I make I try and be patient with the paint and how I mix it. I take a deep breath and in the end hope for the best.
Did you know that you add a gel medium to oil paints? The medium goes on when you are using other paints as well to help the paint dry. Every week I go, I am learning something new!
I have been uncharacteristically quiet during most of the lessons, as I listen to Kevin’s critique, he makes it sound so easy! I find, I inch ever closer to the painting as I steady my hand and try to apply his instruction to the canvas.
The ladies in the class are chatty enough and I have learned a lot of small town gossip as we sit there. The gallery is right across the street from the funeral home and we always try to figure out and discuss who is being waked on that particular day.
Everyone is kind and says that I have a unique style and love what I am doing. At my last class a stranger walked in and whispered behind me ‘beautiful.’
It is hard to accept praise on something you are still learning, something that you want to excel at and something in essence is so new to me.
But I smile and say thank you and continue to be patient with my tulips and the leaves.
It has been a challenge to try something new, but I am not afraid to try something else.
The tulips are almost done now; I can smile at them and think of the challenges I have overcome, the skill of my teacher, the admiration of praise by others and what my next masterpiece will be.
But, in the end, this was not for my friends, husband, teacher, or other students it was for me to learn and grow and I have.
When was the last time you took a risk to try something new and had some time for yourself? Your next masterpiece might be right around the corner!
Tiffany is a writer and former reporter with the EMC Newspaper in Kanata/Stittsville, an editor with the Ponoka News and a communications assistant at City Hall. She is happily married, lives in Arnprior with her husband and black cat Fitzgerald. The blog-world is fairly new to Tiffany however she enjoys Tweeting and writing about current events, entertainment, living in the Ottawa Valley, DIY adventures and much more. You can follow her on Twitter @TiffanyWLepack or @ArnpriorON or on her blog www.tiffanywlepack.wordpress.com