I am not an artistic person by nature. Even as an adult my attempts at drawing more closely resemble stick figures a four year old could draw. (Well, not my four year old, since he has unfortunately inherited my (lack of) artistic talent. But that doesn't mean I don't like art. In fact, I love it and one of my long time, unfulfilled dreams has been to be an artist. A painter to be specific. But I'm not an artist and if nothing else, this lack of artistic skill makes me admire the work of others all the more since creating it myself feels so out of reach.
In high school and then again in college I had the idea that I could take a painting class. After all they were readily available and the students who took these classes produced such beautiful pieces of work. And that was exactly what prevented me from enrolling in a class. Everyone in the classes already had artistic talent; I felt as though I would have been out of my element. As an adult I continued to think about taking a painting class but the timing of the local adult education classes never seemed to fit into my schedule. (And I still harbored that fear of being the only one in the class without an iota of artistic talent). I even went as far as coordinating an art class for community members when we were with the US Embassy in Tirana. Yes, I organized the class but due to scheduling conflicts --and a little bit of residual fear-- I never enrolled. So when we arrived in Belgium and I noticed that the local arts center was offering a beginning water color class that fit into my schedule, I impulsively signed up for the class before I could talk myself out of it.
Once I had signed up however, I immediately started having buyers regret. I emailed the instructor to find out whether the class was really for beginners who had never painted before. She assured me that it was and more over, because I was the only one who had signed up, my five week class would actually be five weeks of private painting lessons. I was a bit nervous on my first day since I didn't know what to expect but my teacher immediately put me at ease, introducing me to various paints, brushes, and canvases. She showed me how to use combinations of paint, water, and brushes to create different techniques. It was all so basic yet it was exciting to me. I was finally learning how to do create these designs that I had only admired from afar. Granted, my painting samples still look like something a four year old would create but I don't care any more. I'm having fun and that is what is really important. I now find myself looking forward to my Wednesday mornings. Not only am I finally, after all these years, taking a painting class, but I'm doing something that is completely for me. When I sit down with that paintbrush my focus is no longer being a wife and a mother, it is about my taking the time to tease out any artistic ability that is lurking inside of me. And that is priceless. I may never be Monet but I'm going to have fun trying.