Coming from a family of artists, I've always dreamt of being one since I was a child. I was above average as a kid in my art skills and managed to win a prize or two in art competitions. However I was more studious and ambitious than artistic I guess and growing up art went from being a passion, to seldom thought of hobby to finally a 'had been hobby'.
Moving to Toronto and being jobless reminded me of my childhood passion and I decided to take up an oil painting class. During this course, I came across some surprises about myself and about painting that somewhat changed my cherry-eyed image of the subject. I realised, I was a very impatient person and oil painting demanded more than average patience; you've got to wait till layers and layers of paint dry out, so you can apply the new layer. It required attention to detail, another quality I'm happier living without - you need to look the the minute details of lights, shadows and shades to get the 'real look'. It required following rules! Yes, art of all the things, I thought artists were all about breaking rules and being free and crazy but that's definitely not the approach to a good painting. You've got to follow the rules of proportion, of colour mixing of spacing and much more. I realised art is also very technical. But most of all what surprised me is the kind of 'undivided attention' a painting demands. If you really want to paint, you need block yourself out from the rest of the world and life around you, doing it at home doesn't work because the kitchen or the mess in the living room or the emails keep distracting me. Unless I go to my studio, I cannot block myself out to give undivided attention to the painting. Once you're alone with your painting, it is a lot of fun and you can be there for 3 hours, feeling like they were just 3 minutes.
I just had my last class yesterday and I learnt a good deal about art theory, different artists, different techniques of painting. I liked the pallet knife technique the most; I think I like this technique because it is more forgiving, you can mix colours and give a rough touch which still looks interesting and neat in its own way. It saves you picking different size brushes or cleaning your brushes again and again when you switch from one colour to another. Guess I'm a short-cut artist. No wonder I was always more drawn towards abstract painting.
P.S: Yes, those are from my course work, attempts of re-producing Van Gogh and Tom Thompson. Glad they are not alive to see these!