On July 25th, Amherst Community Connections had an incubator workshop on the topic of visual art. Bela Halstead ran the worksop as an art class for anyone who wanted to join. We started off introducing ourselves and saying what our experience was with visual art and/or what we would like to experience with it. It was very eye-opening for me to see how many people have experience with art in some form throughout their lives. I grew up with an immense background in music, but not so much in the visual arts department. Pat started of saying how art makes you think only about the present. The past and present become basically non-existent has you focus intently on your artistic creation. I have seen this exact effect when performing or practicing music. When I am in certain performances it feels like I am lost in the flow and rhythms of the music. It is a very nice stress reliever where you can just forget about everything that is going on in your life for a couple minutes.
There were many other interesting responses from participants. One person finds art in their life by completing different puzzles. Moreover, this is a way for them to keep focused and take their mind of issues going on in their life. When I was younger, I also used to do many puzzles of things like state maps or landscapes. Seeing everything coming together in the puzzle is a very fulfilling feeling and is not like anything else. Another individual told us how he cannot separate art from life and that they are basically one in the same. Specifically, he told us how he painted his car in a very artsy manner and how different parts of his house have very elaborate artwork in them. For me, this was a very interesting perspective because if you step back and look around, everything really is art. You can look at a hole in the wall and see something of beauty or significance. Beauty is all in the eye of the beholder. In addition, Bela enlightened us on how she loves art and the creativity involved with it. She told us how the art leads her and takes her in many different directions. I very much appreciate this creative outlook on art. Art, should not be something we are told to do, but something that we want to do.
For the first activity, we all were given pieces of white paper to sketch on. Bela told us to think simply and draw anything we wanted, thinking about 3 basic shapes. Moreover, there would be three regions of lighting on the paper: dark, medium, and light. The point of this exercise was for people not to get too caught up on the details of their drawing, but instead be able to focus on one thing. Everyone in the room was having trouble with not getting caught in the details, including myself. I would always be like, “these leaves don’t look realistic” or “the dimensions are off” or something like that. We would have to remember that those things are not as important in the big picture. She also reiterated that we should not do what someone wants us to do, but what we want to do.
We were then directed to draw something else on the back of the sheet using the same three basic shapes. Some people had completely different drawings while other people just built off of the ones they already had. My drawing was built off of the one I had, but it had a different twist. The second one was more mathematical and abstract than the first drawing I did. Others found split second inspiration to draw another person in the room or some type of shape that they really liked. The next thing we had to do was use color to edit the drawing that we had made. It was very interesting to see how the colors people used change the message and beauty of the art. When I showed my redone drawing there were many different interpretations of the art that I would have never thought of myself. Art is so important in that aspect because it is always open to interpretation. Two people can have two completely different takes on a piece of artwork and it is perfectly ok.
Art is a very important aspect of our lives as it can relieve stress, bring people together, and inspire creativity.
ACC hosts free incubator workshop on Wednesdays from 10 am to 11:30 am. Free lunch for all. For a list of the weekly incubator workshops, go to ACC's website, http://www.amherstcommunityconnections.net/new-events/