Learning to paint awakens this reporter’s artistic side

By Nathaly Sierra

DCCC students proudly show off their beach sunset paintings after participating in Campus Life’s “Paint Night Live” event March 24. Photo courtesy of DCCC Campus Life.

In the middle of the DCCC Campus Life event, “Paint Night Live,” hosted by Evan Struck, a young artist from Michigan on March 24, I suddenly noticed a strong paint smell. 

I looked down at my desk, overcrowded with painting materials, and saw red paint all over the floor, my desk chair, and my purple sweater. I should have been upset, but I completely ignored it because of how enjoyable the virtual painting class was. 

Painting is not easy, but Struck was great at guiding the 44 students and DCCC staff members through the process of painting a landscape using acrylic paints. 

While rushing to avoid the paint completely drying on the canvas, Struck often assured us that even if all our paintings looked slightly different, we were still doing a great job. 

 “I have taught this painting many times before, and every time it looks different,” he said. 

His comments on how people compare each other’s artwork and sometimes see it as a competition made me aware that I was doing that at that moment. So I immediately told myself I should enjoy the class and focus only on my painting, which, in my opinion, was not yet good, despite my best efforts.  

I am not an artist, but I find art of any type pleasing and relaxing. Attending this event allowed me to unwind from the day’s stress, especially with the lo-fi music playing in the background.

Still, when Struck showed us a sample of the beautiful painting we were going to be working on that night, I wondered if I could paint that. 

We were tasked with recreating a sunset on a beach with a rocky coastline, using colors such as red, pink, orange, purple, and white on an 11 x 14 canvas. 

Ta da! This reporter displays her painting after taking the virtual “Paint Night Live!” class with Evan Struck. Photo by Nathaly Sierra

Campus Life provided students with the materials needed for this free event, including the acrylic paints, a canvas, and a set of brushes. I registered for the event late, so I bought my materials, and, thankfully, I had some extra brushes already at home.

During the class, I was not the only student who seemed to struggle a bit. 

 “My brush fell apart,” said one student after Struck urged artists to blend their paint quickly before it dried. It seemed like the student was blending the paint too fast. 

Nevertheless, we were constantly encouraged to show our progress to receive feedback from Struck. He gave some students advice and commented on how their painting was turning out. Of course, he could not mention everybody since there were so many people participating. 

When I was finished, I thought I did pretty well, considering this was my first time painting a beach sunset. If I had had more time, it could have turned out even better. 

During the class, I often checked the other painters’ progress and was amazed by some of the participants’ skills. Struck was also impressed. He often commented how everyone was doing “fantastic” in the class. 

“To be able to see that final photo with everyone’s painting was amazing,” he told us. 

Interestingly enough, before the COVID-19 pandemic, it never occurred to me that I would miss being around many people. Yet, even though the art class was a virtual event and participants did not talk much, I felt connected to people who had the same interest, in this case, painting. 

I also showed some of my friends the result of the sunset painting and got some feedback from one of them, an artist. My boyfriend thought I did a great job and asked me where I would display it.

The day after the class, I searched for easy painting tutorials because of how much I enjoyed the experience. Because of the class, I realized I need to work on my blending skills and how to mix colors. 

So I decided to paint a still-life illustration of sunflowers on a vase which I am close to finishing soon. 

Contact Nathaly Sierra at communitarian@mail.dccc.edu

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