Painting - Back in the Saddle
For Christmas, my husband bought me a session of painting lessons. This is such a special idea because it's "Me" time, where I don't have to focus on sleep training or teething or consistency of fecal waste or frequency of bodily eliminations or developmental milestones or rashes of various sorts and locations. And there used to be a time in my life where I considered myself to be quite an amateur artist. I drew a lot when I was a kid. I was really good, actually. Not to toot my own horn, but people offered to pay for my work.
I was so excited to attend my first art class last Monday night. I thought about it all day. I knew it would be a small group, and I knew there'd probably be folks who had been doing the class longer than me, but I was fairly certain that the teacher would, within the span of the two hours during the evening, realize fairly quickly how brightly my talents shine. She'd recognize in me the artistic genius that, although out of practice, still lingers beneath my deceivingly average exterior.
I had carefully packed my artistic tools into a re-usable shopping bag. I was so proud that I'd had some good paint brushes and a canvas and I hadn't had to purchase ALL new materials as a consequence. Again, this demonstrated my artistic background, however distant.
I entered the classroom and one lady was laying out her paints. She was obviously a veteran to the class. I asked how long she'd been taking classes here. She said, "Oh, only 3 years."
I sat down. But humans are creatures of habit. As each new artist arrived, I got bumped out of their "regular" spot. And then an older lady named Jane came in with a big canvas of the most gorgeous painted landscape I'd seen in a long time. It was probably Northern Ontario, I decided. She began to chat and I overheard her say she'd painted for five hours the day before. FIVE HOURS! What dedication. Okay, maybe, just maybe I wasn't going to be the MOST talented and dedicated student that Mrs. Ng would have. Maybe I wasn't going to be instantly promoted to gold status. But I was still fairly certain that the teacher would be blown away by my ability.
Then in walked Mrs. Ng. She caught a glimps of Jane's painting, walked over to the canvas, examined it for a minute from a distance, squinting her eyes. And then she said very bluntly, pointing at the tree Jane had worked on the night before, "I don't like this." She paused, then added, "You need to do over."
And that is the moment when I realized,
I was the lady without a "regular" spot at the painting tables.
I was the lady with a canvas yet to touch paint.
I was the lady who thought Jane's tree was perfect.
It was the moment when, with a nearly audible click, I was slotted into my rightful place in the painting hierarchy of the Monday night art class.