I wish someone had saved the first self-portrait I crayoned in Miss Wright’s kindergarten class at Pine Street School. I’d drawn a circle that contained eyes and a mouth. No nose. Two stick arms protruded from where ears might be, and a two stick legs dangled from where one’s chin might be. Miss Wright tried to help me, but I felt hopeless.
Meanwhile. Five-year-olds lined up in front of my twin Shelly’s chair for help, mostly drawing animals.
Even at my young age, I could clearly see I lacked artistic talent. I gave up. Soon, I was labeled as someone who liked to write and cook. My twin was labeled as the artist and turtle-lover.
That settled it. I stayed true to my labels my whole life. I learned to cook. I learned to write.
I never took an art class. That was my twin’s gig. End of story. Until now. New chapter.
I’ve done something totally out of character for me. I joined a painting class in Redding that’s taught by Stefan Baumann, nationally renowned artist and oil-painting instructor. Everything felt foreign. I had to learn how to hold a paint brush, which I learned looks more like holding a toothbrush. And I kept finding myself making comparisons to cooking, such as how using the paint palette reminded me of mashing garlic and salt together to make a paste. Yellow paint looked like mustard, blue like blueberries, white like flour and sugar. Oh, I have so far to go, but until then, I’m having the time of my life.
Maybe you’ve seen one of his PBS specials. Maybe you’ve watched one of his DVDS or classes on YouTube.
If you’re in none of those camps, here’s a description of Baumann on his website: “With the huge success of Baumann’s weekly PBS television series, “The Grand View: America’s National Parks through the Eyes of an Artist,” millions of people witness for themselves the magic Stefan portrays on canvas, his passion for nature and the American landscape. By distilling his love of nature into a luminous painting of brilliant, saturated color that transcends conventional landscape and wildlife art, Baumann has captured the hearts and imaginations of a generation.
Baumann’s next series of new PBS art classes begins in September. But in the meantime he continues teaching his Medford and Mt. Shasta classes. As of Friday he’ll teach art classes in Redding.
And I’m one of his Redding art students. Art student. Imagine.
You can imagine, too.
When: Fridays, 10 a.m. until 1 p.m.
Where: Fator’s Custom Framing, 2600 Bechelli Lane, Redding.
Cost: $125 per month (but the first class is free)
Materials: Bring one small canvas (such as 9″ by 12″). For the first class everything else is provided.
What else: Baumann encourages interested students of all experience levels to check out the class, see if they like it, and decide from there. Regarding artistic experience, Baumann said that he likes beginners because they’ve not learned any bad painting habits. Or maybe he was just saying that to make me feel better.
Independent online journalist Doni Greenberg founded what’s now known as anewscafe.com in 2007 with her son, Joe Domke of the Czech Republic. Prior to 2007 Greenberg was an award-winning newspaper opinion columnist, feature and food writer recognized by the Associated Press, the California Newspaper Publishers Association and E.W. Scripps. She lives in Redding, CA.
A News Cafe, founded in Shasta County by Redding, CA journalist Doni Greenberg, is the place for people craving local Northern California news, commentary, food, arts and entertainment. Views and opinions expressed here are not necessarily those of anewscafe.com.