Art Class! (with My Friend Gail)

My mom was an artist. The first time I understood she had talent was when she drew a face in the sand for me at Ocean City, Maryland. Mom encouraged me to paint and draw. Although I liked it, I figured out early on that I have no real talent. I couldn’t add character to my faces in the sand like Mom could.

But something came over me a year or so ago. Our local senior center offers a class in acrylic painting that meets Tuesday afternoons. My friend Gail agreed to take the class with me, and we signed up! I got such a thrill out of buying my supplies, pictured above.

At our first class, our instructor, Danny Eubanks, asked us to pick a painting to copy. I knew I needed something simple, so I chose Kasmir Malevich’s Head of a Woman (1920). I think she might be menopausal. She’s red in the face and may be exhibiting a touch of brain fog.

The lure of the blank canvas…

Danny had us sketch outlines.


Next, he instructed me to to fill in the area around the woman.

Then she began to take on color.

More Paint

Danny talked to us about mixing paints, applying paints, and what brushes to use.  Gail chose a more complicated piece, Van Gogh’s Japanese Vase with Roses and Anemones.  Her fine motor skills are lots better! She makes jewelry and is skilled with intricate work.


Now it was time to add the stripes to my painting. Some artists use tape to create straight lines.I might have thought that was cheating. Love painter’s tape!

Danny worked for the Sheriff’s Department here in Orange Country, North Carolina, and is now retired. Although he’s been an artist all his life, these days he has plenty of time to work on his paintings and to teach art.

I want to do a geometric next, so here’s one he painted to show me the possibilities. He’s an excellent artist.

Back to my woman with the red head. More stripes!

After four sessions, she was finished. Painting my signature felt like a moment of moments.

Here are Gail’s flowers.

I’m having a great adventure in art class, but I’m willing for Gail and Danny and my mom to outshine me.  As a younger woman, I would have felt competitive and perhaps beat myself up for my lack of talent.

Now, I just want to paint, to have fun with color and design and the camaraderie of my fellow artists. Ah. The liberation of menopause.

But I do wonder what my red-faced woman is thinking. Any clues?


6 thoughts on “Art Class! (with My Friend Gail)”

  1. She has a look of bemused puzzlement on her face and is wondering how she can ever thank you for being such a generous friend for the ride by sharing your thoughts, feelings and so much valuable information in your blog. I’ll say it for her — thank you, Barbara.

  2. I am so glad you asked me to take this class with you. I am really enjoying it. In fact, over the weekend I was really wanting to paint and almost went in to get my painting from the senior center so I could work on it. All those bright colors in your painting are the ones I love. It means she has personality!!!

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