Michelle Baker, MA
The Painting Community at MBodied
I love the community that is forming among the painters at MBodied! If you walk in during Introduction to Acrylics or Open Studio you will hear people chatting about life, about their painting process, making jokes or singing along to the music. Other times you hear nothing at all. That silence is the absorbed focus of painting known as the “flow state.” Making art can take you into a deep state of presence where it feels like only you and the painting are there. How cool to have a room full of people absorbed in painting!
It is also really important to me that people and their art are treated with respect at MBodied. I would never paint on someone’s canvas, tell them their art is bad or that they don’t have any talent (reported art traumas from elementary and high school days). I believe that each person has the ability and the right to create art.
What’s amazing to watch is students of mine offering the same support for other painters in class. I’ve watched one of my previous acrylic students help someone in Open Studio by taking their canvas and holding it back for them to see it from a different view. “See look, the color you used is really helping convey depth in the hills back here.”
We often discuss how each person is their own worst critic. So what tends to happen is we hear our classmates being hard on themselves, not liking something and inevitably someone goes over to verify the painting is in fact good. Best of all, we don’t just pat everyone on the back and say “good job.” We ask questions like, “What don’t you like?” And help problem-solve the issue. “I see what you’re saying, what if you darkened the shadow down here?”
It’s not just a big love fest (sometimes it feels that way!) It’s truly a community of budding artists supporting each other in the painting process. Help during the frustrating moments. Help with color suggestions or conceptual ideas. Best of all, a roomful of people swimming in creative juices really helps get you in the mood to make art!
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