Trying To Paint

We went to the Muse Paintbar last week. I was not too familiar with its concept before we went, but I had seen the storefront while walking through the nearby shopping area. All I knew was that it was a place where one could paint. I got a little more educated about the place the day of the visit. There would be an instructor providing directions during an extended group painting session. There were no qualification requirements to attend a session. Anybody, even those with little or no experience, could paint. The instructor would be using a pre-selected painting as a template for providing the instructions. He or she would be painting along with us. While you were painting, you could also relax with some food and drink from the bar. Music was played in the background.

As I have mentioned in the past, I have not done any real painting since my days in school. This turned out to be the perfect situation and setting to try something out once again without a feeling of pressure.

It turns out that there is an internal tension in my psyche between the need of an engineering mind to to follow instructions, or a process, when doing something, and the need to relax and let go, and let the creative juices flow more freely without worrying too much about the end results, when it comes to artistry.

When taking digital pictures, you have the opportunity to address any issue you might have had with your previous attempts by taking another picture, by making whatever correction you feel is necessary. This process of making corrections or changes is not as easy when you are applying paint to canvas.

The Muse Paintbar experience was a totally laid back experience. It was fun. The instructor was good when it came to addressing the aspect of the the painting challenge that I have mentioned before. Even while providing instruction, his overall direction was generally about being casual and non-critical with our efforts on the canvas, and not worrying about how it would all look in the end. One did not have to paint “within the lines” as it were. My engineering mind managed to absorb this vibe, perhaps because of the relaxed environment we were in. I went against my ingrained instinct and let myself be more free-flowing in my efforts.

This is what I ended up with.

This was the setup in which we were enjoying our experience at the Muse Paintbar.We had a table to ourselves as a group. Instructions were being provided by a young man standing on the platform to the right side of the picture. He was playing some nice music through from his smartphone and the audio system in the room, mixing in some familiar oldies with newer tunes.

This is what we came home with collectively.

The experience made me think about painting once again.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Life Imitates Art

How does the photograph really capture life?
Can the imitation of art also be artistic?
Should the art that is being imitated be something created by somebody else?

In the first part of my response I have series of pictures of nature that in general look like paintings to me. Since paintings are works of art by definition (may not be good art, but art nonetheless!), I think these could fall into the category of life imitating art.IMG_7057IMG_7073IMG_7196IMG_7339OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I believe this last picture is more in tune with the theme imagined by the author of the challenge.

For more pictures submitted for this week’s challenge visit this site.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Autumn Treats

Something crazy happens to me every autumn season.  It usually happens when the colors of the leaves on the trees are changing, when the leaves begin to fall to the ground.  I am so taken in by the change that is going on that I start taking plenty of of pictures.  It does not matter that I have gone through a similar experience of autumn many times over many years. It does not matter that I have taken pictures of the changing scene almost every year.  It does not matter that I am actually seeing all of this change in the area around my home, so that it is more than likely not a new experience.  It does not matter that I tell myself that I have seen and done this stuff before, and that there is probably nothing new for me to record.

The craziness manifests itself in ways that are unique to the season.  I end up placing my camera in the car where ever I happen to be going during the daytime, regardless of the purpose of my trip.  I end up taking trips into the countryside and driving the lightly traveled country roads around me for hours looking for the fall colors.  I end up stopping the car in potentially dangerous spots beside the roads and stepping out to take pictures, perhaps even stepping into the center of the road if the probabilities seems to be in my favor.  I end up making U-turns in my car to return to the spot on the roadway where I saw something that caught my attention.  I end up walking around trying to find just the right angle so that the sun lights up the trees in a manner that accentuates the colors of the leaves that are dying.  I end up waiting patiently for the clouds that are drifting past the sun to get out of the way so that the trees are lit up just right.  And all of this happened to me once again this year!

And it turns out that I still continue to enjoy looking at the new pictures I am taking. But even among these pictures there are some that present a special treat to me.  There is something about the way these pictures effect my state of mind.  Take a look at some examples.

I was driving out of my neighborhood when I came upon a scene that caused me to stop the car right there on the road.  I had to step out of the car and wait for just the right moment for the swiftly moving clouds behind me to get out of the way before I was able to take this picture.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI usually run my loops from home beside Seneca lake with the minimum load I can carry.  But knowing that the time was right, I had carried my camera in my backpack while running on this particular day even though the added weight increased the level of effort needed.  I was rewarded by this sight.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThen this was what I saw while I was driving to different points on the C&O canal to experience the fall colors.  I wonder if she was using water colors!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAFinally, this one was closer to home on the road leading out of the neighborhood.  The splash of color caught my immediate attention.