One afternoon a week Cameron goes on an adventure on his own, without me. He’s on his third session at Arts Umbrella, on Granville Island. It’s pretty awesome – gives him a chance to hang with his friend Grace, and now Beth has joined them too, and it allows him to explore his artistic side. I don’t consider myself to be very artistic, at least not in the visual arts, so this is his opportunity to develop that side of his personality with a non-mommy role model.
But Mama’s a little left out!
Honestly, I think that half of my feelings that I lack in the visual arts field is because it was the realm of my sister. My sister who hasn’t spoken to me in nine years.
So when the opportunity came up to go to drop-in art classes at Arts Umbrella I jumped on it.
It’s in the same room as Cameron’s class, so Cameron got to be ‘in the know’, and tell Mama what to do. He knew the routine. Here is where we hang our jackets. Yes, the papers on the table are for drawing on, they aren’t the project we’ll be doing, we can draw while we wait for the class to start. See, here are the pastels! They aren’t crayons, Mama, they’re pastels. Crayons are wax, these are … uh … pastels.
The pastels took me back to childhood. Dad sketching and drawing, carefully smudging and blending the pastels to just the right texture and shade. I surreptitiously sniffed the pastels, and rolled them between my fingers and thumb.
After a while, we sat around in a circle while the instructor explained the project to us. It was a bit complicated for Cameron, with many steps. We were going to be doing Warhol-inspired prints, preferably of animal heads, but if you wanted to do something else that was okay too. She took us through the steps, designing the prints, cutting them out of thin Styrofoam, coating them with ink, pressing them on the paper. Then switch the colours in freaky inversions! I thought it was interesting, academically, as it involved design and planning (as you could layer to make the final picture more complex), mixing of colours, playing with colours.
It was a little advanced for Cameron. But the excellent staff kept an eye on him so that I could have some art fun too. He wanted to do a reindeer – and the antlers were a challenge. But they managed! Once he had the hang of it, he could experiment and do his own prints, even trying different materials to print on.
Me, I chose to do a dragon, inspired by having just watched How To Train Your Dragon again. It took a long time to get started, as I’m too much of a perfectionist. But once I did, and the layers took shape, I was pretty happy.
So now the art gallery in our home has a new exhibitor, a guest artist. My dragons have joined Cameron’s reindeer and other art on the fridge.
We’ll go back again, and surely bring Kate and Leif with us!