One Painting At A Time

Story by Anonymous

Ever since I was a child, art fascinated me. But it always seemed out of my reach; while growing up, my parents made it very clear that academics should be my top-most priority. Extra-curriculars, especially art and craft, should not take up much of my time.

At the start of every academic year, when it was time to buy new stationery, books and art supplies, I was always inclined towards the paints, crayons and art sheets but my parents either didn't allow me to buy any of it or just kept it out of my reach at home.

Even at school, our art teacher was biased towards the few students who were good at art. Year after year, she only concentrated on teaching those students new skills and techniques.

I tried my best to not be discouraged. I used to go and stand next to the teacher while she taught water colour painting or oil pastel colouring but it was difficult to follow without the required art materials and with the teacher excluding me from the learning process due to the bias. This exclusion made me feel helpless as I could neither learn art at home, nor in school.

Moreover, I felt distanced from art and a fear settled in me. Since the teacher only focused on the ‘good’ students, this fear was amplified because I felt that everyone around me was good at art, but I wasn’t!

When I joined college for my B. El. Ed course, in the first year itself there was a subject called "Art and Craft", which turned out to be a turning point in my life. Since it was a compulsory evaluative course, my parents realised the importance of it and didn't stand in my way.

After all these years of fearing even drawing, here I was, face to face with art. Throughout school, I tried to learn but didn't get too far. Here I was in college, now learning everything from scratch. I was nervous yet liberated at the same time.

While I thoroughly enjoyed learning how to paint, make charts and craftwork, I realised that most of my classmates had been doing this since their school days and were naturally way ahead of me. But this time, no matter what the odds were, I was not ready to back down.

I loved art and I was not going to let anything stop me from learning it. From Madhubani painting to Calligrahy, I attended numerous workshops in college, sometimes even bunking my classes for it! Sometimes, my hands trembled while holding a paintbrush, but I loved every moment of it. I was also constantly reminding myself that age is no bar when it comes to learning.

In my final year of college, I attended a workshop on pencil shading. I remember looking down at my blackened fingers and thinking that pencil shading was taught to us in 7th grade and here I was learning it at 22! I almost cried in that moment because I felt so euphoric, finally doing all the things that my heart had been yearning for since I was a child!

Sometimes I think to myself that if I had got the encouragement when I was younger, maybe I would've flourished at art. But I am trying to let go of my past experiences and start afresh. I still try to attend as many workshops and courses as I can. I recently pursued an art journaling course that helped me express my thoughts and emotions through art.

Now that I am earning, buying art supplies for myself makes me so happy! I realise that I have a long way ahead, but I believe in myself. Slowly but surely, I am finally taking control.

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