Art Class

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!


About Kris Cunningham

We live in David, Chiriqui Provence, Republic of Panama! This blog is about some of our experiences in our new country.
This entry was posted in Miscellaneous and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

14 Responses to Art Class

  1. Sunni Morris says:

    Glad you’re enjoying retirement. I just got a PT job here. I haven’t worked in twenty-five years. Art was my favorite subject in school. I still love it and probably always will. There are so many mediums to work in and expressing yourself is very satisfying. Have fun.



  2. Retirement is great, don’t you think? Your paintings are wonderful and now you can hang them all over your home to enjoy. My daughter is quite the artist as well and is studying art in college at the moment. Enjoy your art classes!


  3. Carole says:

    I would love to take his class. My hobby is painting with Acrylic. I sold a few paintings, but have to learn a lot. I registered in the University of the Virgin Islands for an Art class, it is for hrs and goes until December. I start next Thurs. Can’t wait. I love painting. Like you they will teach us to work with black and white and shading first. I even paint on glass bottles with special paint. I am hoping to sell my paintings once I sell our shop and am totally retired. That is what I want to do in Panama, paint.Your paintings are really nice, you have learned a lot. How long have you been painting.
    The good thing about being a Senior here is all the classes at the University are free, mine would have been $600. I tried to register for Spanish beginning, but it was full. Next semester.


    • Wow, very cool! How nice you can take free classes. I’d be interested to see some of your paintings. I have been using acrylic on canvas too. This is my first attempt at painting so I’ve only been doing it for a few weeks.


  4. Neva Miller says:

    HI, Chris. As an artist, I know what your teacher is talking about when he says it takes awhile to coordinate your eye and hand! What I loved about learning a new medium was that I realized that I started to see things in nature differently…kind of “pushing” the color to be a little (or a lot) more vibrant, and emphasizing the values of light and dark. I think your drawings and practicing the values are very good. You’ve already got an eye for placement and balance with your wonderful photography so I know you’ll be a good painter! Best of luck, Neva


    • Yes! You are right about “pushing” and that is what I need to learn. With my photos I work with what is already there and I rarely do more than minor editing. But with painting, you can make it whatever you want. It’s much more challenging and also more interesting.


  5. Kris, your paintings are awesome!!! Oh man, I wish I could take classes with you! You are a woman of many talents.


  6. Kris,
    These are GREAT!
    Very impressive!


  7. Wow! You’re quite the artist!!


Comments are closed.