This past Wednesday I started a community class in watercolor. I’ve always wanted to take an art class but was unable to work it in while I was in college. The local art stores offer classes, but nearly always during the day when I am at work. This was my third attempt to get into the evening class and I was overjoyed to finally make it.
Shortly after the class started I found out why it had been so difficult to get in. Turns out the same people keep taking this beginners class over and over. The only other gentleman in the class had been attending for some ten years. Excuse me? Ten years in a beginner’s class? To say the least, that caught my attention.
The instructor looks to be about my age. She speaks in a rapid staccato manner, but seemed quite knowledgeable and despite the speed at which she speaks, is easy to understand and follow. She covered the basic introductions and such quickly and within 15 minutes we were working on the first of the evening’s two projects: a simple landscape with a barn in the background and a muddy dirt road wending a classic S curve through a field.
When we were finished, she collected the painting from each of her 15 students and placed them in the front of the class for her critique. I was surprised to find that my work was very similar in quality to most of the others and it’s not because I’m that good. True, most of the works were better than mine but not all that much better.
After class, I found myself thinking, how can a person take the same class over and over for five or ten years and not so a marked improvement? They may take the class for social interaction or some other reason. In any case, it got me thinking about my writing. As I said in my first blog, my primary goal for the year is to stretch myself creatively. Am I doing that or am I returning to the old, comfortable patterns of the past. Time will tell.