Thursday, December 8, 2011

Painting a new perspective

I took this class on a whim. I've never considered myself artistically inclined and my level of expertise ended at stick figures and select cartoon animals. I'd always been more of a writer instead so when I told my friends and family that I was planning on taking a class that produces a mural they looked at me questionably. "You do art?" they said, to which I would promptly reassure them, "No," with a little laugh "not at all. But the class said no experience necessary, so I'm gonna try...." Little did I know that it would soon become my favorite class.

I'd always been a fast learner, but it surprised me how quickly that I completed the little assignments that Mark challenged us with. I could whip out gradient scales like I had been doing it my whole life. It was weird. Art never has been my thing. But then we got to the mural and everything changed. It was real now. Not only was the canvas huge, now my inadequacy affected more than just me. It became increasingly clear that so many people were going to see this, and I wasn’t quite ready for that responsibility. So I approached it really slowly, timidly, and carefully. That was until Mark yelled at us to “Paint faster! Paint faster! It’s fine, move on. Don’t overwork it.” It was completely different approach then I was used to, but it worked. I painted faster, and I learned really quickly not to dwell.

As the class went on, I started attempting bigger and more detailed portions. I still stayed away from the faces, but with a class on a deadline I didn’t have the luxury of only painting the solid portions that I knew I was good at. I had to stretch and learn on the fly. I had to ask a lot of questions and most importantly, like my old softball coach used to always say, I had to not be afraid to be a hero.

This class has taught me so much, but I think the most important thing that it’s taught me is that there is so much that I can accomplish, if I just believe that I can do it. If you asked me a couple of years ago if I’d ever paint a mural, my response would have probably been along the lines of “Yeah, with what art skills?” and I would have probably laughed in your face. Yet here I am today, almost finished with the mural, and I’m so proud of myself and the rest of my classmates who came together to make it. I can’t wait to walk past it every day, my own little proof that you truly can be anything that you make yourself out to be.

- Jamie Monville

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