It was February, and I was sitting here with my morning coffee, looking at a pile of snow outside and being thankful.
Teachers may not realize what a creative pursuit their job is, but they are always building lesson plans, creating teaching resources, writing lectures, crafting responses, and presenting those to a captive audience, to whom they must adjust instantly and constantly. That is creative. When I retired, that outlet disappeared, and a few months into my retirement I was looking for a new avenue. I had dabbled in One-Stroke Painting, developed by the generous Donna Dewberry, for many years. It was something I did with my mother, that gave a form of instant gratification. But I wanted something more, so I spent some of my new-found time on the internet and discovered Youtube Tutorials!!!
At first I just watched, but one lady caught my eye, and my ear. Her tutorials were detailed and well paced for me, and I had all the materials at hand. And she was a Newfoundlander!! Allison Prior made painting a picture so accessible that I just dove in. The scenes were familiar, from our surroundings, and so my first pictures came to be. This was my very first from Allison. Through her I gained the confidence to push on. I was even lucky enough to have an afternoon with her in person as she lives not far from me.
But there were others out there on Youtube and I continued to explore, finding Clive Powell of Clive5Art with his many tutorials, tips and tricks to make acrylic painting accessible, and his love of Bob Ross, whom I had been watching since the 80s. He spends remarkable amounts of time on connecting with his art family, through his many videos and his social media efforts. Then came Len Hend from Australia, whose style is so loose and free (so different from my tight hand) and in whose online course at OpenLearning I continue to participate. More recently I’ve watched the work of the Art Sherpa, Ginger Cook, Painting with Jane, and Nagualero. What all these people have in common is their keen and sincere desire to help others unlock their artistic abilities and video tutorials are fabulous because you can paint along, pausing as needed, or watch repeatedly without trying the patience of the instructor. And many of them will respond should you have a question. I know, I’ve done it. And there is a lovely lady, Shirley, who is half a country away, with whom I correspond privately, who is trying to expand my knowledge of colour theory and fine art methods.
Eventually it is time to move beyond slavishly reproducing the lesson. That’s where I started, in February 2015, but it’s no longer what I do, and that tells me that I’m growing into my own talent. I don’t yet think I have a “style” (there is so much out there to be explored) but I am bringing myself to my work now. And that’s a little daunting. The horizons (and the amount there is to learn) are endless.