Barbara Lee McKeever Peterson
Watercolorist • Brandy Manhattan Expert • My First Art Teacher • My Mom
It’s relaxing. Sometimes. Not always. Sometimes, it’s very relaxing. It depends on if you ruin something and can’t fix it, it can get frustrating, especially watercolors. But when you just sketch in a book, with black pen, it is very relaxing.
I love Art. I love museums. I love seeing the old art, like Picasso and any of those old guys from Europe. You know that! I dragged you around enough to them. I like, too, when I went to that school with you and you did that residency— it’s wonderful to see those kids creating at that young age. Some of those photos were just wonderful! I love looking at two of the same image and comparing them and seeing what’s different and what’s better. That’s the critic in me. I can stand there and appreciate it and criticize it and no one knows what I am thinking. Also, because it is amazing that these really young kids, with no training, just by listening to their Art teacher, come up with those images. It’s really amazing.
Just like you, I was really young when I started having Art in my life. My mother would buy me new crayons and books for Christmas. I hate old crayons. They’re the worst. Plus, I was an only child, so I had to entertain myself.
I loved Art in school. We had this short, old lady who was so sweet and I did really well with her. I won a contest once, well, I didn’t win it, but I got Honorable Mention. We had to do a book cover of a book that we liked. I can’t remember the book, but I was really happy! It was a story about five kids and I drew them and there was a dining room table and a braided rug. I looked forward to Art every week. I just loved it. That was my thing. Just like you.
A lot of people, if they took the time would appreciate Art. They just would. You don’t have to go to classes or do anything. You just have to look at it and take the time to do that. It teaches you something. Of course, it depends on the picture. How they drew it or what the artists perspective of what is happening at that moment.
I can’t remember having Art in high school. But, we always had music. There was this nun who taught us because she used to sing with some big band leader. She was big and she would get right into your space if you were off. It was humiliating. We sung beautifully because we were so scared of her! She was good. She was tough. But it was better than anything else.
Much later, after I had your brother, I would take classes from Artists in Easthampton and I loved it. I had some really good teachers. That was when I took that class where I crocheted you that house coat that just kept growing with you! It was so beautiful, pink with white trim.
Timothy was still being nursed when I started. I took pastels, I hated it. It got all over my hands. That was when I did oil paints, too. It was much easier, because you could just paint over your mistakes. But really, I love watercolors. I love looking at watercolors and I love doing it. It’s easy and quick. I like to paint scenes, not people. Though I could paint you. I should’ve brought my camera and took your picture, right at this angle, all tan, in black…
It was important for me to bring you to museums, because you needed to see it and appreciate it. I thought it would be good for you because I never got anything like that when I was a kid. I loved seeing Art.
I think people think Art is a frivolous thing that is not necessary or important and if it disappeared then, “so what.” I don’t think people have any idea what it means. It’s your history! It’s important for history. It’s fun, it’s interesting to see what people did back then. They didn’t have the simple things they have now for materials. Like oil paints— they had to make their own That’s hard! Where do you get the pigment for orange or red or yellow? You really had to work at it!
It’s good for people’s imagination. They can see how differently people think and maybe appreciate that a little more. Art is just as important as Science or Math, because if you don’t appreciate it what do you appreciate? What will be there for you to appreciate?
I think it is important, even in grade schools, to give a quick history of Art. To see the different periods of art. Even if they don’t understand it, kids will remember it and appreciate Art more. Because if they don’t know, they won’t care. I wish they would push art in schools more. Like incorporate art into history classes. For each time period they teach, they add in the art from that time. That’s the least they could do.
Kayo’s Happy Hour • July 29, 2016 • Bend, Oregon