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My first thoughts when I signed up for my requisite oil painting class? Sounds slow, expensive and intimidating! The class¬†was all of those things… but I was surprised to discover how fun and satisfying it could be at the same time. I have this first assignment to thank for much of that realization.

To help us relax and explore the dynamics of the paint (Windsor & Newton water-soluble oils), our instructor announced that we would spend a couple weeks working on an abstract emotional piece. To provide a little framework, we each received a nebulous photocopy that looked something like this. We each reproduced its major lines in pencil onto our canvases, then examined them from all angles until an idea came.

The answer to “how did you ever come up with this?”

I knew almost instantly that I wanted a white rectangle on its side, with illusions of depth, contrasting pure hues near the white, and deeper tones toward the edges. I’ve learned to begin creative work with whatever part I feel most sure about. The other details always make themselves known eventually.

What is this canvas about? To me, it feels like a momentary self-portrait of my soul… a place of happiness and mystery. But I’d love to know what you read into it!

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