Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Chapter 5. Another beginning

Mary's first class.

I climbed the long steps to my new teacher's house in Tamboerskloof overlooking Table bay. Hundreds of earthenware pots lined the pathway, stone sculptures lurked in the lush undergrowth and flowers tumbled from crevices and flowed down sculpted terraces. She must be quite wealthy, I thought, to live here in this rather upmarket part of town. Mary was standing at her front door. Behind her I could see about 6 or 7 other women, one or 2 of them from Wendy's group but other new ones. They were setting up half-finished paintings on easels. Mary  said
Hello - welcome- in a soft mellow voice. I introduced myself. She gave me a spot at a table on her patio with another woman and put a picture of a colour wheel in front of me and told me to mix colours. Take the opposites of the spectrum, mix those and make dabs on a piece of paper. I felt I knew all this already,I had been through it with Wendy, but I was too polite and shy to say so, so I spent a rather boring 2 hours just fiddling around.

I sneaked a peak at the women inside her lounge/studio working on canvases. I noticed that they all seemed to be copying from photographs or magazines. So its OK to copy, I thought with relief, After all that's what we had been doing at Wendy's and I was quite good at that. Its going to be alright I thought.

I did not see much of Mary that day. She seemed to be invisible, just floating around, her long hair tied in a long plait down her back, her feet in rough leather sandals, a floaty kind of skirt swirling around her ankles. A bit of a hippy I thought, Cool though, very relaxed and kind-looking. Contained. Gentle. I began to warm to her, getting over my resentment at Wendy's leaving. I wondered what adventures awaited me in this new, rather elevated environment. Mary's house was what I aspired to in my own life. Art books spilled from shelves in her lounge, comfortable lived in space, A fireplace, some African pieces, very arty and expressive. I liked her space and she seemed comfortable enough to share it, even allowing people to make a mess in it without her getting uptight. A good space to learn in. she did not give much instruction, just made vague cooing sounds as she made her rounds amongst us, making a suggestion here and there- how about using a touch of red there, or lighten that area.

At the tea break, we chatted a bit. I discovered she had a son the same age as my son- 3 years old. She suggested I bring him along sometime and they could play together- the maid could look after them for the morning. Sounded good to me. I had Luke in a little playgroup at the time. It would be good for him to visit another part of town. His new friend would have lots of new toys and he had a skate board, which Luke was angling for. He could try it out. Have fun, make a new friend. Mary and I had something in common. It felt good- 2 mothers together, both with sons. She had 3. I only had 2. I decided to come back the following week.

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