Art aboard AMALegro – Day 6

 Passengers/art students work on their Honfleur harbor scene in art class aboard AMALegro
Passengers/art students work on their Honfleur harbor scene in art class aboard AMALegro

ABOARD THE AMALEGRO – Our “Art Illumination” cruise ends tomorrow morning, and those of us whose egos survived the painting classes intact have produced three “masterpieces” . . . at least that’s what Sebastian Lowry, the cruise director, calls them. He’s a very kind man.

We call them “primitive art,” giving ourselves the benefit of the doubt. Truthfully, however, most of them are “bad art” and should not see the light of day off this ship. They should never be shown to anyone, ever, even our most loyal and supportive family members. Perhaps ESPECIALLY our most loyal supportive family members.

But our friends and family members are not going to escape that easily. AMAWaterways has kindly offered to mail them to our homes, free of charge. How can you turn that down? I’ve spent the last two hours wrestling my paintings into a self-made cardboard box, bubble-wrapped and bound in sticky tape. They’re on their way!

Truthfully, my husband and I enjoyed the art classes on the cruise immensely. Elizabeth Grebler was a patient teacher, helping us bring out our latent talent. For most of us, it wasn’t latent so much as begging to remain undiscovered.

 The sky has begun; now for the water!
The sky has begun; now for the water!

In all, there were three two-hour sessions, held in the ship’s lounge. Some 40 of us — wearing white aprons to protect our clothes from the bright acrylic paints — sat in front of our empty canvases and awaited instructions. Each class had a different landscape model, beginning with Monet’s lily pads. Grebler started us out with simple brush strokes to cover the canvas with blue sky and green vegetation.

This was basic art: when we couldn’t find our green paint she explained that we could make it by mixing our yellow and red pigments.

By the second class we were pros at creating green paint, but we still had a few other things to learn. The model for the second session was the sweet little harbor in the town of Honfleur, where we had toured the day before. The straight lines of houses were harder to depict than the free form of lily pads, but we soldiered on. And at the end of the class she showed us how to make reflections in the water. Cool!

 The unfinished works of a well known Paris symbol by the author and her husband.
The unfinished works of a well known Paris symbol by the author and her husband.

The model for the third class was the most difficult for those of us who had never held a paint brush: the Eiffel Tower. By now we’d had the benefit of two classes on how to brush in our sky and water — but the Eiffel Tower? It has to be perfectly vertical, right? And shaped like a curved letter “A,” Grebler explained, holding her brush against her canvas to show us where to begin the tower shape.

Never before has the Eiffel Tower been painted in so many different styles, colors and shapes. But what a wonderful time we had trying to capture this iconic Parisian site!

 Site of our last cruise excursion --“Malmaison,” Josephine Bonaparte’s home and garden outside Paris.
Site of our last cruise excursion –“Malmaison,” Josephine Bonaparte’s home and garden outside Paris.

When we toured the art-filled chateau of Josephine Bonaparte this afternoon, we looked at the priceless historical artwork with different eyes, Somehow the colors, the brush strokes and the three-dimensional perspectives were much more impressive than ever before to those of us who had just finished trashing the Eiffel Tower on paper.

This “Art Illumination” cruise was an eye-opening experience, a great success for anyone wanting to try something new in their lives. That includes me and my husband.

Unfortunately, for our loved ones, it also includes them. They don’t know it yet, but they will be receiving some unexpected original art from France next Christmas.

Photos by Timothy Leland

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