Last year around this time I was really itching to break from my routine and do something different. I had finally awoken from a long stupor of redundancy and realized I had for some time been neglecting my creativity. I seriously needed an outlet! So, I decided I wanted to get out there and take a class of some kind. It would get those creative juices flowing and maybe I’d meet some cool people in the process. My first thought was to take a writing class as this was my true love and something I had failed to actively pursue in years. But, I ultimately decided I wanted to first try doing something I had never done before.
I’m not sure when or how the inspiration struck exactly but I decided I wanted to see if there were some beginner painting classes. This was something I’d never tried before, unless you counted the times my mother would stick me outside with watercolors and paper in the backyard as a child. I’d drawn, gotten into photography some, but never attempted painting. So, I started googling and imagine my surprise when I quickly found a painting class for all levels! The Katherine Martin Widmer School of Painting
In the days leading up to the first class of the semester I was getting pretty nervous. I was having visions of painting aficionados peering down their noses at the ‘amateur’ as I cowered in the back row trying not to let people see how awful I was. But, from the second I walked in and heard the soft jazz playing lightly in the background and people smiled and said ‘hi’ even though they had no idea who I was, I realized just how wrong I was! Katherine’s painting studio was as far from this vision as one could get. When you arrive there you get a canvas, paints. You can paint whatever you choose: something you see, something you are thinking, an image or photo you bring in, a dream/idea or choose from the hundreds of photos of everything from people, to sports, to animals and flowers and much more to inspire and compose your painting.
She welcomes all in warmly and she walks the delicate balance of guiding beginners through the process of painting so that they learn how to think about it and can approach future paintings with confidence, while still allowing the artist in you to shine through and make decisions on the direction you’d like your painting to go. Once you’re more experienced you have the tools and the ability to look to her less for instruction with your work. Warning: Side effect from weekly painting sessions includes having all that noise pushed out of your head and having two complete hours of full on relaxation and calm. Who needs yoga???
And as for the other folks who attend class they are all such warm, vibrant, and supportive people. Skill levels range from expert to beginner and everyone is respectful and kind to each other. This is partly from the fact that Katherine insists on a relaxed and communal environment where positivity and support is encouraged. It’s also from the amazing people who seem to be magically drawn to this place. While people paint there is sometimes side discussions on each others lives, current events, and of course the paintings. Other times it’s totally silent, except for the soft music, as people focus on their masterpieces. Of which they all are!
And at the end of the semester you end up with some beautiful friends you never would have met otherwise, a great painting, a fun exhibit where you can show off your work to friends/family, and of course…signed up for the next semester.
So I strongly encourage you local Bostonian peeps to consider coming for a semester! See dets below:
WINTER TERM: Jan 10 to March 20
SPRING TERM: April 11 to June 16
SUMMER TERM: July 11 to August 18
FALL TERM: Sept 26 to December 4
The price is $135 for adults; $95 for kids.
There is a $10 calendar-year, one-time registration fee.
Term is 10 weeks; all materials included.
For those not in the area I hope this post might inspire you to try something new and different this year. Maybe it’s volunteering for an organization you’ve been thinking about for a while, taking a poetry class, joining a book club, or signing up for an art class yourself.
Hopefully you too find a wonderful hidden gem as I did!