One of the nice things about retirement is having time to do some interesting things that you couldn’t fit in while you were working. My friend Hydeé visited one day and mentioned an art school close by. It sounded interesting so we decided to check it out.
Then, she got busy. She works full time and also takes university classes, and then the car needed some expensive repairs. But, by now the idea had been rolling around in my head and I really wanted to go, so I decided to start by myself.
I really like the teacher Prof. Víctor Aguirre Chirú, but unfortunately he seems a bit elusive on line so I haven’t been able to find examples of his work. There is one of his paintings about half way down this page. There is also a Facebook page for the school, the Centro de Arte José Cáceres O. here.
The teacher did show me some of his paintings in his smart phone, and I love what he does with light and shadow. What I saw looked vibrant and alive. But, I have a ways to go and a lot to learn before I can do anything close to that. The first month of class was drawing in a sketch pad with charcoal pencils.
Little by little I could feel it getting slightly easier. The teacher says it takes a while to develop the communication between the eye and the hand. He also worked with me a lot on brightness and shadow. For a drawing to look right it has to have more contrast, more light and shadow than in a photo. Everything of mine looked pretty flat until he prodded me in the right direction.
Then, I was off on the bike trip. He promised we would start painting when I returned!
Next, I think I’m going to tackle colored glass bottles on a windowsill. I want to start creating my own ideas instead of copying photos, though I will need photos of various bottles to get me started. That should be quite challenging and give me a lot of opportunity to work with light. I like photography a lot but this has been a very interesting new medium. I like using the colors and mixing them, and I also like the ability to add some texture. Drawing is OK but painting, yes, that is doing it for me.
I also enjoy the classes. Most of the students are kids, some as young as four. There is one little girl who is so adorable I just want to squeeze her and take her home. The little ones are usually given pencil drawings to color in, hopefully staying more or less in the lines. They have some sort of soft crayons and the little girl usually has a much paint on herself as on the paper.
There is another lovely eight year old who loves practicing her English with me. She and some of the older kids do some really remarkable work. Many of them are working on very large paintings with a considerable amount of skill! Maybe when parents pick them up I’ll have to ask if I can take some photos of them and their work.
I like retirement!