I’ve been meaning to take a class or two at Art Center East for like forever…this past week, I finally pulled it all together and joined ACE. Even before this, I had been debating about which class to take. A lot of what I was intrigued by was for the under 14 set (make of that what you will). I finally narrowed it down to wood block printing and painting lilies in the style of Georgia O’Keeffe. Figuring that my innate klutziness would lead to some sort of amusing emergency room story, I eliminated the wood block printing (you have to carve your block) and opted for Georgia O’Keeffe. I hadn’t painting anything except walls and cabinets since I was 12, but as a tween, I was actually a somewhat decent painter in acrylics and water colors. My sister said it was probably like riding a bicycle, so I should just go for it!
The class was being taught by Teaching Artist Corrina Stadler and promised to be an enjoyable evening (from 6 to 9 PM), where I would be meeting new people and “exploring painting in a fun, no-pressure environment,” with complimentary food and beverages provided. I was familiar with Corrina, as she had just curated the Art in the Library exhibit, ”The Utopia of Stillness,” and her selections showed discernment and inherent taste.
The big evening finally arrived. I was, of course, early and had a chance to chat with Corrina. People began trickling in and we all introduced ourselves and partook of the food and drink on offer (two bottles of wine, cheese, deli turkey, and crackers). It turned out that most of the participants were honest-to-goodness artists, with one woman being an art teacher whose work is in galleries in Baker City. She and her friend came from Burns and French Glen respectively to take care of some business and participate in this class. Everyone seemed lovely and nonjudgmental, so I abandoned most of my self-consciousness and went for it.
Instead of the lily advertised, we were going to paint an O’Keeffe red poppy—Valentine’s Day coming up and all that. Corrina taught in a stepwise fashion with color layering and I hewed that line for about 10 minutes. I kind of went off on my own little journey and ended up finishing in about an hour. “Gee,” said Corrina, “you do work fast.” I kept adding little touches and dinking away at it until even I just said “leave it be…it’s done!” So, I helped clean up the studio and chatted with folks while admiring their work.
The finished work above...and a close up below...
Bottom line…Georgia O’Keeffe is not the easiest artist to try to reproduce exactly, but it is not difficult to add your own personality to her basic concept. I am rather proud of my work (or not totally embarrassed), considering my backstory and artistic companions for the evening. So, if you want to explore something new, meet some great people, and step out of your comfort zone, I highly recommending checking out the incredibly wide array of classes at Art Center East by going to their website at https://artcentereast.org/.
Next month, I have decided to venture even further out of my comfort zone and enter the Shamrock Shuffle 5K/10K on Saturday, March 18th, hosted by La Grande Main Street. Check back and see how your intrepid blogger fares.
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