This week I am attending a week long oil painting class in Bennington, Vermont at a program called Art New England. Many of the faculty come from Mass College of Art and Design which is the accrediting institution for the program. The site is at Bennington College on a beautiful campus with well designed and well equipped studios. There are many choices over a three week period including printmaking, drawing, ceramics, oil painting, and watercolor.
It is a privilege to focus intently on one thing with a group of people doing the same. The class that I am taking is taught by a true master teacher and still life painter, Stanley Bielen from Philadelphia. Many people in my class are accomplished painters who work in the design and art world. This is both inspirational and intimidating! Ashley and I took this class last year and though we both have a good deal of experience in drawing and design, neither of us had ever painted with oils. In my experience, oil paints are luscious, delicious and daunting. I am making my way this year. Ashley stayed home to work on other projects and to enjoy just being at home after a year of work and travel but I could't resist returning.
I am throwing myself into learning something new, something hard, something that I love. It is a good thing to be a beginner at something...humbling, frustrating, and worth the effort. So many new things to learn, so many things to remember, so many failed attempts, so much to let go of all at once.
To be surrounded by color and the beauty of the natural world and to become completely absorbed in studying small vignettes and compositions is such a pleasure and an effort. I am just plain in love with oils and I always have been. I am happy to be here and happy to be giving learning something new my best effort.
All best wishes to all of you wherever you are and whatever adventures you are enjoying during this beautiful summer.