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Learning Outside My Comfort Zone

I have long admired the creative talents of people who can put pencil to paper and, with a few quick movements of their hand, some shading and mimicking points of light they’re able to capture a scene, a portrait or landscape.  It must be an incredible gift to be able to draw and paint.  Unfortunately I lack such said talent and don’t even have the ability to draw a straight line using a ruler.  So when I read the University of Saskatchewan was offering non-credited online courses this fall, I took note.  Perusing the list of subject matter they have to offer, I was intrigued by several selections.  Some cost more than others and it’s out of pocket, which means I can only choose one.  But which one?

In my family, I come from a long line of artists, especially on my Mother’s side of the family.  As the story goes, one of her Uncles was a member of the Group of Seven and gained notoriety for his artistic ability.  His sister, my mother’s Aunt, wasn’t impressed and decided she could do the same, if not better.  Apparently she only put brush to canvas once, created something similar to his work and hung it next to one of his completed works for all to see and admire when they visited her home.  My mother has her painting.  When she speaks of it she describes it as, “that ugly brown painting with the tree.”  But even ugly paintings eventually gain respect and people take notice.  Look at the work of Picasso, for instance.  His use of colour and peculiar abstracts have created works of art that are priceless to some and coveted for art collections by others.  Yet, really, his work is one that requires imagination and an open mind to “see” the scene he is attempting to capture. 

As I looked over the list of classes offered through the U of S, I was surprised the painting and watercolour classes were already full.  Some of the drawing classes were nearing enrolment capacity as well.  Since the class size is limited to eight people, it’s not surprising they would fill up quickly.  However, the ones already closed are by far two of the most challenging subject areas for me to learn from.

Several genres caught my eye; photography.  I have a natural ability to capture reasonably pleasing photographs with a digital camera.  It’s when I need to know how to create moods and capture emotion I waiver in my own artistic confidence.  Using positive and negative space, shadows and light, focusing on what is the subject matter of the photo are all things that make a photograph more “posed” for me.  I find myself detaching from the subject matter before the photographs are even shot.  I prefer natural photos over technically sound ones.  And I like to see the personality of my subject shine through and be captured by the camera lens.  That doesn’t always transcend in a posed photograph.

I considered taking an embroidery class, one on making Mandelas and even one on drawing.  Ultimately I’ve chosen to take a journaling class.  I will be able to use some of my poems and use all sorts of pictures, fonts and colours to embellish the story I want to tell.  By creating different scenes to showcase each poem, I’m hoping I will  learn how to convey a message even before someone takes the time to read the words printed on the page.  And I’m intrigued with the idea of using colour and font to compliment the photo journaling I do.  Each of my children has a scrapbook full of photographs, stories and anecdotes that I hope they’ll treasure as much as I do when they’re older.  Some of the pages hold treasured family recipes and others tell the story of the moment caught in the photograph.  

As I anticipate the class starting next month, I do feel some trepidation at the idea of returning to a classroom setting as a student.  I feel vulnerable and exposed since this is a subject area that is challenging to me.  There is enough content that I am familiar with some of what I will learn but I will also be on a huge learning curve that will take me outside my comfort zone.  And I suppose this is essential if I want to learn and experience personal growth.  While I may not be able to capture a scene in one sitting as my Great Aunt  did when she felt challenged by her brother’s fame, I am confident I can learn to enhance the creations I already know how to create.  And that’s an exciting prospect for me as it’s a hobby I enjoy.  Each scrapbooking and journaling page has a different theme, which holds my interest and keeps it from becoming boring.  These are features of journaling I enjoy very much.  Wish me well!

Take care and have a great week, everyone!

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Wednesday November 17, 2021