Channelling the Painter Within: Lesson I

After coaxing you all to adopt a resolution to “culturize” yourselves this year, the Kelowna Art Gallery decided to turn the tables on me and invited me to do a little bit of culturizing on myself with a six-week art class.

Those of you who have been following The Pear Tree for a while have no doubt picked up on my appreciation for art. Topping the list of clues would be the artist studios I’ve lusted after in last year’s monthly touring series. But while I do love me some fine art, and the accoutrements that go with it, creating something even remotely pleasing to the eye is another thing.

But I do like a challenge, especially if it’s one that could add a new layer of beauty to my life. So I accepted their offer, and will be chronicling the experience each Wednesday for the duration of the class.

The KAG offers adult art classes throughout the year (children’s and youth classes are also offered periodically), and they can range in theme from sketching and watercolours to calligraphy and jewellery making. Their winter classes this year are a mix of drawing, acrylics and watercolour lessons.

Megan Bernard

I chose Exploring Acrylic Painting Mediums, taught by artist Megan Bernard. The idea is to get a grasp of some of the mediums and techniques used in working with acrylic. I love what I see artists do with acrylic, from texturizing their paintings (almost like sculpting on a canvas sometimes) to collaging, layering, and creating works akin to a watercolour or an oil paint – all from the same medium.

My first lesson came before the class began. Despite being married to an artist, I had no idea how much art supplies cost (one of those “don’t ask, don’t tell” matters). I’m using a lot of Mr. Pear Tree’s stash, including brushes, paint and canvases, but estimate that if I had bought everything new from Opus I would be in it for close to $300. No wonder artists command so much for their work!

Our first night we learned a little bit about mixing acrylic paint with various pastes and gels to give it completely different properties. My next big lesson came when it was time to put paint to canvas. An 18×24 inch canvas. I didn’t realize how intimidating it would be to actually defile innitiate my new, clean, actually-just-lovely-exactly-how-it-is canvas. So I started on a small one which feels far less ponderous before letting Megan convince me that the world would not come to an end if I splashed some paint on the big one and hated how it looked.

The brown swirls are the first layer of what will eventually be roses. But when I look back at them they appear to be what the Cake Wrecks writers would dub “poo swirls.” I have to keep reminding myself, it’s just the first layer.

Whether or not I discover a Monet – or even a Pollock – lurking within me, I am looking forward to stretching my skills a bit and flexing my too-long dormant creative muscle. And putting a checkmark beside that resolution to “culturize” myself.

– Words and photos by Lori-Anne Poirier

Complete Story:

Channelling the Painter Within – Lesson I
Channelling the Painter Within – Lesson II
Channelling the Painter Within – Lesson III
Channelling the Painter Within – Lesson IV
Channelling the Painter Within – Lesson V
Channelling the Painter Within – Lesson VI

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  1. Way to go Lori, there is an artist in everyone just waiting to blossom. Good Luck.

  2. Hello Lori-Anne Poirier,
    My husband Bob & I also sign up for six weeks of acrylics painting classes with Megan Bernard at the Kelowna Art Gallery and took the plunge to
    ” Channelling the Painter Within ” – Lesson one was incredible and we are excited about lesson two for Megan is such a talented Artist & Teacher
    Happy Painting ! Catch my smile, Suzanne Chavarie

  3. Hi Lori,
    that sounds like fun. And for the record, when I looked at your swirls – before I read what you posted about them, I thought hmmm “roses, and that’s the honest truth. You go girl.

    Lisa x

  4. Oh oh oh, can you feel the envy emanating from my response?! I wanted to take that exact course but since I’m going to be away for two weeks I didn’t think it was a good idea as I am a very, very beginner. I’m keen to hear how it goes and hope Megan will be repeating the course! Enjoy!!! Your roses are looking lovely!

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