So Happy to Be Painting Again

(Post 4 of 172 174 (So far!). Thanks again to those who participated in the Fundrazr!)

Some of you may remember my visit of the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam in 2016. It was very clear to some of you that I really needed to start painting again. It took three full years, but I finally got back to it! It just had to be the right time and place. I have found a painting studio fairly close to my house where I have an excellent teacher and all the materials are included in the price of my lessons. I really would like to have a studio at home one day, but because I am renting here and such a messy painter, I am happy to leave the house to paint so that I don’t have to worry about staining anything. I also find that going out of the house to paint means that I am more consistent about doing it and more focussed when I’m doing it. I really need that time out of my head and away from the computer and all the distractions so that I can create and relax a little bit. The classes are one two-hour session a week.

The studio, Agustín Galería, is located in an old house in Itzimná near de Monumento a la Patria.

To be honest, I was kind of lukewarm about painting again after completing my first work, a cityscape. I got some really good comments and feedback about it, but I just didn’t really enjoy painting it. It didn’t feel like a personal project to me. I decided that for my next project, I was going to really challenge myself and try to paint a portrait of a Bonita! I had never done anything like that in my life. I have painted some birds, but no other animals. By the time I signed her portrait, I had to accept that, holy cow, I am actually talented at this. I cannot believe how well this painting turned out! It really looks like my girl at her best!

Needless to say, I was feeling pretty confident when it came time to choose my next project. I decided I wanted to paint a portrait of my father! My teacher gave me a look that clearly said that he had no confidence in this project and that I had better keep my expectations really low. He said that normally for portrait painting, he wants the students to spend a lot of time drawing first. But as long as I was willing to accept that I was probably going to end up with a bad version of a Picasso, he would let me try.

My sister is a portrait painter who has studied a lot of the techniques, so she spent some time with me in the week before I started, teaching me a little bit about how to approach a portrait and some of the techniques behind it. When I got to class, my teacher said that he didn’t want me to get too technical, that he didn’t feel that that was going to work for me. He had me start the same way that I started with Bonita, just freehand drawing with a brush and observing, and, holy smokes, my dad slowly came to life under my brush!

My sister gave me some technical comments last week that I applied this week and that made a real difference. If we crop out only his features, eyes, nose, mouth, it 100% looks like my dad. It’s just the facial shape is a little off still. So the next class, I will fix that. Anybody who would look at the picture that I use as a model would say that it doesn’t really look like it, but I’ve had a few people who knew my dad who said that they can totally see him. Today, my teacher said that he was surprised by how well it turned out and that I definitely have a talent worth honing!

I am at the end of this session, just two more lessons to go. We are starting up at the end of April. I suspect that my next painting will be one of the hills around Haven, done in a similar style to Van Gogh’s Under Thunderclouds. But I am not married to that idea. Another idea that I have is to take a picture of a street in my neighbourhood and try to paint that. My sister suggested that I paint the love of my life, so perhaps I will try painting a plate of tacos! *snickers*

I don’t think that anything has made me feel more settled into my life here than taking up painting again.