Sunday Gratitude: Out of the Comfort Zone

Abstract art at the AIC. Not mine. Someone who “got it”

Last weekend I took a class at Weston’s Art & Innovation Center. I think it’s my fifth class there–I took two prior acrylic painting classes, a zoom felting class in the pandemic and a Cricut class. This last one was abstract painting in acrylic, and I have to tell you it kicked my butt.

I am not an abstract person. I like to look at paintings and know what they are. I like to see stories in them or moments in family life or an afternoon picnic in the park. I will never understand all-black paintings, or one with a single line or whatever. I’ve tried. I nearly failed an Art History class at my alma mater. I have willingly spent time and/or money on various museum visits, gallery openings etc to try to figure it all out…but in the end, I will look at a painting and try to see something in it. Yes, it is all Rorschach ink blot to me.

So when you have a class where the teacher says you may NOT see something in the paint, well, it caused me some major angst. I had no idea what to do next, no petals to put on a flower, no hand to outline in a glove. It made me a little tiny bit crazy (crazier?). See my first painting below? Those are trees on either side, right? But no.

The other five women in the class merrily spattered and swooped and made art and I cut mine up (at their suggestion) because it was better in pieces than as a whole. The teacher told me to go on, nothing is a mistake, it’s all just paper.

I was not good at this class. And that’s okay. One must know one’s limits amd loves–push them perhaps, but when the clock hits 2 on the second day of class and you are thinking “what in the heck just happened here?”, it is okay to say I don’t need to try that again. But I’m glad I tried it once.

In Portuguese, there is a phrase “não é a minha praia,” which directly translated means “that’s not my beach.” Indirectly translated, it means “that’s not my thing.” Poutine is not my beach. And neither is abstract painting.

My Sunday Gratitude is for trying new beaches–and then going back to my beach.


  • actually, I think free-form painting definitely is, if not your whole beach, at least on your beach. (there is an article in a recent New Yorker about artists (?) whose are is found items. you just pick it up, clean it off (but not too much), and put it on the wall or on a pedestal. Maybe there is an nascent art show in the old glass dump in College Pond.)

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