From interested to passionate: MACA class introduced me to beloved hobby

This is a picture of the Paint the Town class that sparked my love of all things art.

About six years ago I learned that the feeling of dried acrylic paint on my hands relaxed me more than almost anything else in the world.

It was during my first Paint the Town class offered by the MACA that I found out that I love blending colors, filling in shapes and learning new painting techniques.

Over the last few years, my art has varied from landscapes to pet portraits. I’ve dabbled in acrylics, learned that oil paints are not entirely my friend and become immersed in using hot wax to create one-of-a-kind encaustic works.

Am I Rembrandt? Heck no. Will my art one day sell for millions upon millions of dollars? Probably not.

That still hasn’t dampened my enthusiasm for art supplies, clean canvases and strange items to collage. That’s why my most recent purchase of oil pastels wasn’t a surprise to my significant other, who had to bear with me as I opened up package after package from Amazon to reveal my new supplies. The whole scene was reminiscent of a child’s birthday party.

“Look what I ordered,” I said with what I imagine was the biggest look of glee he had seen on my face in a while.

“That’s great. What are they?” was the reply I got back.

Instead of letting that question aggravate me, I decided to whip out a new canvas and start on an original piece, so that my mate could see just what my new tools could create.

“I’m going to add a little brown there, some chestnut colored pigment there,” I said. “You’ll see. This is going to be great.”

After 30 minutes of canvas work I laid my new supplies down and decided to take a break from my new, soon to be halfway finished masterpiece.

That’s when the art critic beside of me gave his input on my work.

“You know, I really like that painting, but the fact that you’ve not colored in the eyes yet is creeping me out. I mean you’ve got a giant canvas there that’s mostly colored in, but no eyes.”

This criticism didn’t jar me. Instead I used it to my advantage and my inner artist spoke.

“That’s the point of it,” I said. “An unfinished piece of art is supposed to be raw, maybe even a little spooky. When it’s finished you’ll appreciate it more because of its wholeness.”

Without that first Paint the Town class I would have never had the courage to explore more art media. That’s why I’m so grateful we have an arts council where kids and adults alike can explore and grow their skills.

If you’ve ever wanted to learn art techniques or dabble in any sort of craft, I recommend you browse MACA’s website. Not only do they offer a variety of arts and crafts for sale, but they’re also holding music, sculpture, screenwriting and painting classes that you can take advantage of. For more details on upcoming Paint the Town classes or other workshops offered by MACA, visit mcdowellarts.org.

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