MK24 - 3rd class

Today we start with a bouquet of sunflowers. On white paper we make some sketches in charcoal first. From different angles and different cut-outs. The second part of the lesson we work on brown paper and Conté crayons in sienna, burnt sienna and white.
I choose to let my flowers somewhat loose on the paper. There is no vase, no support. I try to draw what I see, yet I make a conscious choice to leave out the background and vase. Even though the teacher warns me that the effect might not work, we both agree later that the flowers do have a sense of coherence and don't need more than the brown paper.
Loved doing it. I was in control of my hand and the material. The teacher compliments me not only for my choices, but also for seeing and conveying the nature of the sunflower. I feel energized and confident. This feels much better than last Saturday.


GRA - 2nd class painting

I am so enthusiastic to show my homework to the teacher. I want to tell her how I sat myself down for the first time in a long time and felt like a child again. Inexperienced, impatient and very eager to try out something new. And did I struggle with the paint! I want to tell her about that too. So much happened inside of me, I had intense conversations with myself.
When it is my turn to put my work on the ground, on display for the whole group, to be discussed by the teacher, I feel proud and happy.
" You left all the edges open, " she says, "that's not good. It gives an enclosed feeling." I want to tell her that indeed borders are an issue I always struggle with. How interesting this already shows itself in my first assignment.
"This brick wall doesn't work, you should have painted the edges too."
"Yeah, and those white lines are not clear at all." All my pride vanishes at once. When I trying to comment on her remarks, she says that as an art student I have to be able to take criticism. I guess that means in her case that there is no room for discussion. I am confused.

The second part of the assignment was to make an independent art work based on one of the previous sheets. Since I like quilts, I decided to use the rest of the torn pages to make a patchwork. With paint I drew 'white lines', and with a white marker I wrote words from the texts in random order on the lines. I finished the piece with transparent glue.I enjoyed making it very much. I had to make choices all the time, and one thing led to another. It was inspiring and fun, and it made me want to make more.
At first glance the teacher seems not to like it at all. "You have put to many ideas in one piece," she says. But as I am gathering my other work, humiliated, she says she does like the way I wrote down the words between the lines. It comes like 'mustard after the meal (Dutch expression).'
She moves on with the other students and I am so jealous when she praises most of them. This is a new feeling for someone who used to excel in class and be teacher's pet.


MK24 - 2nd class

Babysitter does not show up tonight. Greg has to do a show, so it looks like I have to stay home. I won't accept that. I have to, must paint tonight. So I throw a fit. Greg stays home and I go.
Half way there I realize I made my husband give up paid work so I can discover the artist in me. Hmmm... I refuse to feel guilty.
First part of the class is charcoal again. The teacher is showing different art works to inspire an abstract drawing. First we make the paper black, then we use eraser to bring out shapes and light, and more charcoal to accentuate lines and shadows. It is fun to work this way. It gives a quick result.
After the coffee break we prepare a big sheet of paper with colored gesso. We choose one of the charcoals to transform into a painting. I keep it very simple. I have an intense need to just feel the paint, the brush, the paper. It is all so new to me. It doesn't behave the way I want it to. Sometimes the brush is too wet, sometimes too dry. The paint (acrylic) dries up too fast, or too slow. I mix colors when I don't want to. And when I want it, I don't get the right color. I feel so new at this, and it is not all that fun. I want it to work right away.
The teacher keeps an eye on us during this process. She is very encouraging and sees what we all seem to struggle with. She has good suggestions for everyone. At the end of the class we look at each others' work. The teacher points out the strengths in each work, and she gives suggestions for improvement. It's all very gentle and enthusiastic. I feel like I can relax in this class. And breathe.


Introduction Gerrit Rietveld Academy

I am so proud to walk into that building. The Gerrit Rietveld Academy stands for ART. Renowned art. If I could study here, I would definitely become a great artist. So I also feel humble. I am not studying here, I am merely allowed to come take a peak on Saturday afternoons, to watch the masters of the future in action, to humbly take direction from elevated teachers.
All Saturday students gather in the restaurant. So many people, and so young most of them. All of a sudden I feel old and not so special. I recognize the majority of people who I also saw at the audition. Hmmm... Did they allow everyone into this class?
They divide us into four groups. The assignment for this first day is to connect the five flours with books and elastic bands. I hate this. I did not come here to work together. I hate group dynamics. Leaders, followers, protesters. Where do I belong?
Think outside the box, says the teacher. And nothing my brain comes up with is innovative. What about inside the box? I am not interested in outside, I want to go inside! What is there that I haven't discovered yet? Maybe some... NEW things!?
I work myself through the day. Make up my own little project within the communal art work. And at five o'clock I go home with my first assignment. To collect 10 torn pages from the books we brought today and paint them in different colors, in different ways. Then we are to choose one of these pages and turn it into an independent art work.
To be continued...


First class MK24

On Monday September 14, I bike to the east side of Amsterdam to MK24. It's an old school where they offer a broad spectrum of arts. I chose Basic Drawing and Painting for 16 lessons of 3 hours each. I feel like I haven't painted since I was teenager, and I am dedicated to find out if painting is my thing.
The first lesson, we choose a household object and try to sketch it in charcoal from different angles. I feel hesitant, not confident at all, but put my best foot forward. The teacher is gentle and encouraging. Meanwhile, everyone in the class is trying to find a way with the material, and with themselves. Halfway we inspect each others' work, which is humbling, but also inspiring.
The second assignment is to isolate a part of the object and draw it in an abstract way. I am trying not to over-think my decisions, and just draw what comes to my hand. Unfortunately that doesn't work too well and I experience a need to make a plan in my head. But that brings new problems to the work, because it's not that easy to make my hand do what my mind thinks.
This is more difficult than I envisioned. I am tired when I clean up my easel. Being very critical, I do not photograph my work. I think about it a lot in the coming days, and find new solutions. In my head only. I do not free up time to try them out.


Today is the first day...

Instead of working I am browsing the internet again. There's a whole world out there that needs my attention. So many weblogs to follow, networks to update, friends to chat with. It's all input.
Sometimes I feel like shutting down my computers, my television. Cancel subscriptions. Do I need all this news to stay in touch with the world? Is news really news, or it it just the same everytime? Don't the things repeat themselves over and over again?
Should I attribute to this overload by adding another blog? That maybe nobody will read, because you are, like me, struggling with the overload of information.
Time will tell, and I will try. Because I have always felt the need to write, and lately a need to share.
It is my intention to post something every Friday. So I hope you will give me a kick in the butt if I am late or forget or am just procrastinating. I would appreciate that.
By the way, De goede Inez means The good Inez in Dutch. That's my name, and that's who I am trying to be.