February 19, 2014

Art Instructors Still Scare Me

I know I've blithered on about this before, but I only took one art class in my adult life until recently.   It's the one where we were supposed to draw three objects and the art teacher took my sketch pad out of my hand, gave me a big, fat red "F" and tossed the pad back.  Trying to get over that fear when I am already  so insecure about my art is HARD.  Last year I pushed myself and took the soldering class, believing I did OK.  I didn't start a fire and came home with some finished work.  I've practiced a bit, know I have a lot to learn still, but kept at it anyway.  This last weekend I took another soldering class.  The subject was the same - basic soldering - but the project was different. 

One thing I must say is that I don't want to hurt any feelings (or get caught for busting anyone's chops, frankly), so I feel like I have to write in code.  Darn.

The project for the class is a multi-panel standing photo frame with curly wire decorating the top.  I've blurred out the faces of the sample project since it's not my photo.

This most recent class was hard for me because I thought I was coming into it a step ahead, having taken the soldering class last year.  But so many little things throw me off - getting the supply list so late that I couldn't get everything I wanted to bring vs. having to beg or borrow at the class.  There were things on the list we were not to use, and things not on the list that it would have been good to have.  I'm not sure if the instructor assumed we know how to do things like cut glass, but I found it very intimidating and, frankly, I really suck at it.  She finally cut it for me (it was a challenging shape and I'd never done it before, so I broke a few pieces and felt like an idiot).  Then I was afraid to point out that the two pieces she cut weren't the same shape/size which they need to be because they are the sandwich for the photos being soldered and I didn't know how to fix it.  I figured I'd fudge and just bulk up on the solder when she wasn't looking.

In the end, I felt good that I never burned myself, I only cut one finger (note: flux hurts like mad in a cut!) and think I did a decent job of soldering.  I got all of the emails this time and confirmed the potluck (missed that one last time), and managed to bring something I thought was yummy that wasn't a salad.  (Not that everyone else bringing a salad was bad because they were really good salads).

So I'm tippy-toeing here, trying not to snark or come across as a smarty-pants critical, but I am just having such a hard time getting past being so nervous around snappy teachers that I'm struggling with the notion of going back for another class.  A couple of the other attendees (SO much more experienced than I) were SO nice, encouraging me to come to more classes, get over the fear and just get out there.  The instructor did not.  Am I back in high school and reading too much into this, being a paranoid big baby?

In any event, today I worked on putting on the jump rings.  I've learned that spring loaded needlenose pliers suck for this job and the rough end of a wire cutter works great.  I learned I should keep an antibiotic ointment with a pain reliever and bandages in the studio.  One more cut - ouch.

This is what I've got so far.

Starting to add the jump rings

Back of the panels
The photograph has a very sad story behind it.  The groom on the far left was my mother-in-law's brother.  His bride, to his right, died very soon after they were married.  The other woman in the photo is my mother-in-law.  They are all deceased, so we don't know the details of the story other than that Lawrence outlived his next wife (of many, many years), and pre-deceased his last wife.  He and his sister, my mother-in-law, died within six days of each other.  It was such a sad time.  I wanted to pay homage to them by creating this piece and hope it comes out well.  I should note that the backing paper was a fun project.  The center two panels were creating using gradients on a transparent background in Photoshop Elements.  The fun thing is that you can make a single page, then make a million variations of it by simply tweaking color & saturation.  That was the least stressful part of this project.

So the lesson I'm trying to take from this experience is to just try to stop hearing snark or criticism, focus on the learning, and keep moving ahead.  Oh, and stop being a paranoid big baby.