Yesterday I got schooled – and I loved it.
Allow me to explain.
The lovely Rachael, from my online creativity course gang, heard about a watercolour workshop being held on Tuesday evening, so she tagged me in a Facebook post.
It really grabbed my attention, and I quickly looked up the artist, Selina Braine. I couldn’t make it to the class, but I was intrigued, both by her painting style, and her obvious passion for teaching art beyond the walls of a classroom.
I saw that she offered private lessons and before you could say ‘dude, you can’t even draw’ I was emailing her with an enquiry.
Fast forward to Saturday, and I’m pulling up in her gorgeously tree-lined street, feeling a teensy bit nervous, but mostly excited.
As I come through her gate, Selina pops her head out of the front door, and I’m ushered in to her fab studio space where there’s art everywhere, books stacked waist high on one side of the room and my learning space awaits. I feel instantly welcome and like I’m in good hands.
I sit down, and before me there’s paper, brushes, and a gorgeous vignette of a polka dotted teapot, a bottle with baby’s breath exploding from its neck and a delectable looking red velvet cupcake nestling in front of the pot and bottle.
Like Maria Von Trapp teaching someone to sing, we started at the very beginning.
Colour manipulation with water. I could have painted pages and pages of slightly varying blobs of reds, greens, blues, purples, and I’m sure I will at some stage. And how rad are the egg shell tones? My kiddie palettes haven’t let me explore like this, so I’ll be upgrading my equipment pronto.
Selina had done a bit of research on me via my Instagram feed, which was why the lovely vignette on the desk included baked goods! So after we got warmed up with colours and curved lines, she asked me to do the thing I do not do – to draw.
Gulp. I was in trouble now.
I decided to quiet my inner protestations and just try. What was the worst that could happen? My drawing would suck, and I might cry. Heck, I cried at work, in the stairwell, on the street and as I ordered coffee this week… I’m clearly not afraid of crying.
So I tried… and Jimminy Crickets, I did it!
I started with an outline in pencil, then I painted the base of the cupcake, then Selina whipped out her trusty hairdryer and dried what I’d done. I layered other colours, worried it was looking crap, but secretly was feeling super stoked that it wasn’t.
I added some pencil, erased some pencil, tweaked the colour mix on the icing, listened to Selina’s guidance and gentle encouragement… I was smiling a LOT by this stage of the lesson.
It’s kind of amazing how simple it actually was to draw that cupcake. I don’t even care about whether you (or I) think it’s a good drawing or a crap drawing, it’s a drawing that I did, then painted. Woo hoo!!!
I CAN DRAW.
If you’d asked me at 1.55pm, as I walked up to Selina’s house, ‘excuse me miss, can you draw?’ I would have answered resoundingly that aside from a fetching stick figure, I could not. Fast forward an hour, I’d changed my opinion of my abilities.
How rad is that?
Next challenge, the bottle with the baby’s breath (gosh, that apostrophe is worrying me, welcome to my brain) – big gulp. This was translucent and had branches and water and teensy tiny flowers…. I was worried about getting the shape of the bottle right. Thank you eraser inventor, thank you!
I had a crack.
The colours here make me so happy. I took a little creative licence and changed the cupcake colours. I think the yellowy orange is really happy next to the brown bottle.
Here’s a thing – I am not good at negative space.
Selina kept encouraging me to stop… oops sorry teach!
The two hour lesson flew by, yet felt completely unrushed. Selina was easy to chat to as we drew, painted and explored, and I’m really looking forward to another lesson next week.
I think the thing I liked most, aside from everything, was the ease Selina has in her teaching style. There was nothing intimidating or yes ma’am-ish about the way she taught me. Really, she just guided me to do what I didn’t know I could do, while simultaneously dispensing a lot of amazing tips, tricks and techniques that I didn’t have a clue about.
I can’t wait to go back and learn more next week.
We might try painting some buildings – eeek! That seems kind of ambitious, but it didn’t stop me from pulling over repeatedly on the way home to snap shots of interesting roof lines or buildings I passed.
I think Selina’s website is perhaps the most aptly named I’ve come across, because now I can draw with Selina!
Keep creating and playing, and don’t be afraid to get schooled.
PS Don’t forget to pop over to my Instagram feed where you’ll find more #paintisaverb photos.