Art is in the eye of the beholder. That’s a phrase that means art is a matter of personal opinion. Generating new things is something I’ve always enjoyed. There was even a fleeting period during my college days at TCU when I contemplated becoming an art teacher but eventually drifted in another direction. But art, my opinion of it anyway, still has a hold on me. Creating simply brings me personal joy. When I learned several opportunities existed in San Carlos I decided to dip my toe in the water so to speak.
The first stop was ceramics at Club Deportivo. I had pictured a scene from Ghost including a pottery wheel, throwing of pots and digging hands in wet clay. However, when I arrived at my first “class”, I discovered Club Deportivo is a building reminiscent of a 1950’s Elk’s Lodge with one Mexican dog playing the roll of the greeter at the front entrance. Inside a group of mostly older women were busily painting mugs, napkin rings and strange little figurines.
Obviously absent was Patrick Swayze along with any hope of a potter’s wheel. What I did find were kind people willing to step me through the process of selecting pieces of greenware or bisque that could be painted, glazed and fired. With the purchase of an annual membership to cover the cost of paints I could dive right in. So I did. A few hours a week I walked into Club Deportivo, prepared my workspace at a table and painted. Many came to paint alongside me ranging from the sweetest Columbian woman to a couple from Oregon to a new friend from Canada and a college aged brother and sister duo from New Mexico. I discovered many of the painters are snowbirds who have migrated in SC for a few months and spend this time happily chatting with friends they haven’t seen in months. A few weeks in and I finished my first piece. A small tray that was supposed to look a little like Talavera Pottery. Which I suppose it could…in the eye of the beholder.
My second attempt, La Liga de Arte or The Art League. This group meets on Mondays from 9-1 at the Library/Club House of a tiny house/RV park called Tecalie. When I arrived, I discovered if I became an annual member, I was welcome to participate. I was starting to see a pattern. However, this membership came with a member card complete with lanyard so they are serious. Once again, the facility was quite dated and dingy but don’t let that fool you, it is filled with incredible artists. These people are savvy artists. According to Betty, a grandmotherly lady who took me under her wing on day one, several of the artists in the group have their own galleries in the US and others have their talents displayed in many locations locally and abroad. There are masters who specialize in oils, acrylics, and watercolor. Collagists and sculptors and those who use charcoal and pastels. When introducing myself I was asked my area of specialization. To which I honestly answered, “Nada.”
Every week something is planned to get the creative juices flowing. One artist taught a lesson on the use of charcoal. Another shared her views on perspective. A lady who specializes in pastels stepped us through the creation of a group piece. A fourth shared her adept skill with collage. While I feel very green, I have gained a tremendous amount of respect for these people who dedicated their lives to their art and are willing to open the window to their mind during their process. But hey, we all have the same name tag and at times I feel pleased with my “art”. That is as long as I don’t look around the room too much and remind myself about that beholder thing.
My latest attempt was at an art co-op called Creaciones or Creations. It’s a cute little shop owned by an “earth mother” type woman who specializes in jewelry making. She uses the space to work on her own pieces and allows local artists to display and sell their wares in the store. In exchange for this opportunity they all take turns working at the store and some even offer classes for newbies like me. Class options include a four day water color class, paper making, step-by-step acrylics, art journaling, and even alcohol ink design.
I decided on an earring making class last Sunday. In two hours I walked out with a new skill, an understanding of the materials and three pairs of earrings that actually aren’t bad. Once again, apply the eye of the beholder theory.
Regardless of the exquisiteness of anything I’ve created, I have relished in the freedom to take time to create. Joy comes in many forms. Family, friendships, conversations, sunsets, dreams, an occasional iced coffee, scented candles, shoes, and sometimes, art. What makes art? Is it work done by “the greats”? Or is it more simple than that? Can anything be art? Is it a matter of perspective alone? Andy Warhol once said, “Art is what you can get away with.” So perhaps I can “get away” with calling my dips in the sea of creation, ART.
February 17, 2020
“What would life be if we had no courage to attempt anything?”Vincent Van Gogh