My only memory of being in art class was back in seventh grade. Everyone was working on some kind of print project and I was drawing live-action WWII scenes. You know, the kind where you draw some tanks coming over a hill, and on the other side of the hill is a patrol, and the soldiers are forced to fight to survive. The battle plays out on paper. Not sure why I wasn’t learning something instead of doodling. I guess that already in middle school it seemed that art class was for the kids who were good artists.
Well, about forty years later, I’m finally trying to channel my creative impulses toward something more expressive than tanks blowing up.
This started back in Cleveland around 2003, I think. My wife Lynn Gesue and I went to an art show and I was mesmerized by one of Chris Ryniak‘s paintings. It struck me in a way that art in a museum hadn’t. . . or maybe I never equated paintings as done by human beings. Yet here was Chris, and there was his painting.
One day sometime after, Lynn wanted to start painting and so dragged me to Ryniak’s house for an acrylics lesson. He licked his paint brush (I hope he has stopped that horrible habit) and proceeded to paint a little figure. There. That’s how you do it.
So we left, bought some paints, went home, sat at our kitchen table and started to paint. Lynn chucked her picture in the garbage and I painted a blue-plate special. And I was hooked.
I’ve worked in higher ed for twenty years or so. Right now my daytime gig is as the publications manager at the Shorenstein Asia-Pacific Research Center at Stanford University.
Painting is really satisfying and really frustrating. As an unschooled artist, I can see things in my head that won’t get onto the page. But sometimes I can battle through that and reach something that approximates the idea that was inside me.
I took over Lynn’s old site Rinkiedink. Her current site, forever under construction, is over at lynngesue.com.