Channelling the Painter Within: Lesson V

Here is a rundown of my Monday evenings since I started my weekly, six-week art class at the Kelowna Art Gallery:

4 p.m. The beginning of what I’ve come to call “The Arsenic Hour” in our home. Generally, I’m trying to come up with something healthy, quick and agreeable to eat for dinner while my daughter (19 months) magically becomes more needy than she is at any other time of day, insisting quite loudly that she must only be held. Simultaneous, my son (almost four) throws himself into high gear, racing and squealing around the kitchen, while the dog decides she really must go outside every five minutes.

5:15 p.m. Hands are washed and Thing 1 and Thing 2 are in their seats, ready to eat. Mr. Pear Tree comes through the door and sits down just in time for the prayer. I dish out and get Thing 2 going with her dinner while trying to gobble mine.

5:30 p.m. I gather up my painting supplies and attempt to say good-bye to everyone but then Thing 1 inevitably wants to go potty and I’m the only one he wants to put him on the toilet, Mr. Pear Tree needs something and only I know where it is at that moment (likely under two feet of debris on my desk), and – oops! I forgot my camera battery in the charger and must go back to get it. Oh, and I accidentally brought and left my keys upstairs and have to make one more trip for those.

5:42 p.m. I’m finally out the door and in a panic to get to class on time. One quick pit stop at the Starbucks near my place for a grande Tazo Chai and I’m really on my way, seriously, for sure this time.

6:05 p.m. I arrive at the KAG only to find there are no parking spots nearby. I drive around the block at least once before finding something. On a good night, it will be only half a block away.

6:08 p.m. I walk into my class and unpack my supplies. I look around at the six other students (one other one slides in a little bit after me), who all look calm and collected. I take a sip of my chai and catch my breath. Stillness.

For the next three hours, I hear snippets of quiet conversation between my fellow students as they compare notes, share a story or learn a new technique from our teacher, Megan Bernard. No one screams. No one pulls at my clothes or climbs on me. I don’t have to take anyone to the potty.

I am free. Free to push colours around a canvas, sip my chai and hear myself think.

I wish I had tried a class out years ago – even before I had children in my life. Back in the days when I was chasing deadlines and squeezing in extra work and telling myself that covering events was as good as attending them at leisure. I could have used the occasional evening like this.

It seems there’s always something around to crowd out quiet, creative time – especially when creativity doesn’t come naturally to a person.

There’s only one more week left in the class, and then we’ll be left to bring what we learned into our regular lives. While I’ve made notes of all the impressive techniques Megan has introduced us to, the most important lesson of all is to just paint.


My work, so far:

– 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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