by cheri sabraw
In teaching myself the techniques of oil painting during the last three years, and in making myriad mistakes, there have been times when I have wished I had continued my art education after my first year of college at the University of Southern California.
I’ve always loved art and painting from the time I picked up a Crayola and scribbled across the page. My favorite subject was always art; you will not be surprised to learn that I liked to do things a little bit differently from the art crowd in my 4th grade classroom.
Staying in the lines was never my goal. Shading a hippo in tones of brown and grey was no fun. My hippos had to be purple with pink teeth. Precision was not my goal. Expression and emotion were and reflected the artist behind the lines and color.
My mother hired a teacher for me when I was a shrimpy 6th grader. My first painting was of Mt. Fujii. The oil dried slowly; the process taught me a patience that has stayed with me a lifetime.
Ten years later, as a freshman at USC in 1969, I signed up for Freehand Drawing. In that class, I saw my first naked man. ( Yes, morals have changed but my report is the truth.) My scribbling became, by necessity, more realistic. The models were fat, with layers of skin and rolls. The men had no problem letting it all hang out. I was absolutely amazed at the variations of the wondrous human body and in the confidence of the models.
I suppose that experience caused me to consider geology as a major.
After years of answering the bell, correcting student writing, managing my business of 1000 students ( equals 2k parents) a year, I retired.
What more logical hobby to take up than painting?
Three years ago I read that one must do 100 paintings in order to improve. Well, I have done about 30-40 paintings, most of which I have thrown onto the dump pile.
But a few, maybe ten, have survived little Cheri’s critical eye. Several have been sold. To think! Others have been claimed by family members.
As I approach my 4th year of oil painting, I hope my work is beginning to reflect my aspirations.
The next phase of my painting may find my brush strokes loosening up. Mark Twain said that before one can break the rules, one has to know them. I think I’m getting there.