It’s taken me a while to drop the ghosts, grab some courage, and sign up for art classes at our local art school.  I took a few intro to drawing classes that left me frustrated and covered in black charcoal dust; a colored pencil workshop that was pleasant but not my metier; an intro to acrylics with a sweet dynamo of a teacher who encouraged each student with just the right mixture of compassion and instruction; then an experimental watercolor class that I adored; followed by a second intro to acrylics; a color theory class, a drawing class taught in such a way tht everything made sense and finally, the continuation into acrylics two.

I love everthing about it: the smoothness of mixing the paints, the mystery and surprise of combining hues, setting up my easel, washing my brushes, and even being leveled by frustration when brain, eyes, and fingers leave me frustrated and despondent over my ability to master anything. Our teacher is accessible, offers criticism in a no-nonsense way that never wounds, instructs us clearly. I’ve never felt even a whisper of judgment from her when I completely mess up.

This scene is a photo Martin took of a special overlook in Sedona.  When we first started spending winters there, nearly a decade ago, I’d rise with the sun and hike to a promontory that overlooked this scene.  From this place, a place that I called “my mountain,” I watched day after day as spring arrived.  Hawks flew overhead on the lookout for breakfast.  I was the only two-legged creature in sight and sang out my gratitude for being there.

This painting is a love song to those mornings and the peace I found watching the sun rise beyond my mountain.

(Ridge Trail, © Debra Darvick, 2022)