Pay It Forward

I am usually in the studio by myself, so I enjoy it when a fellow artist or maybe a friend or relative is able to join me in being creative or just discuss being creative.  I occasionally have a student in, and enjoy seeing them learn and discover their own creativity.  However, if I sit down to be creative too, I have noticed they tend to stop what they are doing and either watch me or just sit as if waiting for me to get done.  I think as artists we must keep in mind that we just might be intimidating to some, especially those trying to learn from us.

Recently my cousin was in town for work, and since his son, Matthew, was on spring break from high school, he decided they could take a road trip and stay at our place for the week.  Matthew is a very intelligent sophomore, and truly enjoys the arts in many forms.  He takes a dance class at school, and has been learning about art, primarily on his own.  When they arrived, he eagerly showed me his two acrylic paintings, both of which were done quite well.  He explained his paints and techniques, and said he would like to do a watercolor while he was here.  After some thought, he decided to paint a small still life of oranges.  We set it up and he mentioned he was concerned with getting his drawing on the paper just right.  I showed him the grid system for transferring a drawing and he remembered they had done one in school a few years back.

He set to work on drawing the oranges, then began the painting.  He was not impressed with having to wait for certain areas to dry before he could start another, but he soon found out it is just the nature of watercolors.  After a couple of days, he ended up with a very nice painting of oranges.  I felt he did a very good job, and we decided to go to the Frist Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville to see if Rembrandt and the Dutch Masters were as good ;-).  Of course, we found that they edged us out a bit, and thoroughly enjoyed the exhibit.  The Early Americas exihibit was good and Matthew had just studied some of the cultures that were represented so he was thoroughly engaged with it.

watercolor, still life, oranges
Matthew’s Oranges, watercolor

We then stopped by Hobby Lobby where Matthew discovered a set of gouache paints.  He asked me about them and I told him I had never used them, but I thought they were like a cross between watercolor and acrylic, so he decided to try them.  Later in the week he asked if we could make some bread, and I told him I did not have bread machine.  He is very creative in the kitchen and said we could make it from scatch.  I had always wanted to do this, so he got out the recipe book he had brought with him and we made a Poppy Seed something or other loaf.  After much kneading and more kneading, it turned out wonderful.  I loved the fact that we were both able to share in our areas of expertise, and have fun while learning too.

Cheekwood Botanical Gardens
Denny and Matthew at Cheekwood

We topped the week off with a visit to the Cheekwood Botanical Gardens and Art Museum, where we had a special treat to the beautiful spring day in the 70’s.  We were a little early for the flowers, but the weather was great and the museum had some wonderful exhibits.  I am glad I was able to pay it forward and help an aspiring artist, who helped me learn how to make bread!


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