Though I did have some experience in acrylics, I signed up in the Madison area for my first acrylic class. I thought it would teach me some new really helpful ways to do beautiful work with acrylics. I think the teacher took an immediate and perhaps visceral dislike to me. "Well, she certainly thinks she's something." I could imagine her saying this to herself. Because she very quickly launched the enterprise of breaking me down, showing me who is boss, and who is a MUCH better artist than your sorry ass..."
So every day she made her usual rounds of the students, and like clockwork she would without fail walk down to me in a very obvious and needlessly challenging way. I was on. Oh yeah, I'll take you on, Miss Thang. (I had not yet taken Mindfulness classes.)
I think the rest of the class trembled a little with excitement each time Jean would turn her focus on me and start in with the rude remarks about my work. I would beg to differ and I would boldly tell her why. This must have really brewed up a big tsumami of rage in Jean's mind and body.
Next class I started a new piece. I was remembering the trips with my brother on the Penelope down St. Johns River from Jacksonville to Fernandina Beach, FL. I was placing some dolphins in the water, since the St. Johns River is brimming with dolphins.
When Jean came to my station, she looked for a minute and said in great disgust, "Dolphins don't belong in that river because it's a RIVER, Mary, Dolphins don't swim in rivers, never have, never will." and strode off to "guide" the next poor victim.
I was busily painting the dolphins in a nice blue whimsical color, and had done the whimsical sun, the boat and of course brother Tom piloting the boat. He is squiring me down the river. The only problem with the depiction of me is the woman is quite young and wow, what hair (wish I'd ever had such hair). Call her the teenage me with better hair.
Jean came by again and breathed out loudly in frustration. "Mary, what did I tell you about the dolphins? Get rid of them! It looks ridiculous with those blue dolphins in a river of all things.
"Yeah I really like the dolphins. My brother and I have seen them often in the St. Johns River. I'm gonna keep 'em."
Suffice it to say Jean was bent on breaking me and dissing me and shaming me throughout that entire 8 week class. I was starting to hear from fellow students, "Gosh, she's really going after you." etc.
And it just never did work out at all well for poor Jean. I was unbent. I persisted! I pushed my face right up to hers like she did with me. Intimidation? You wannna see some real intimidation, Be-atch?" (Still trying to get into the Mindfulness program.)
What a pathetic "teacher" Jean was. And yet the experience taught me something I've never practiced enough of in my lifetime. It felt damn good to stand my ground.
My dear love, Brian, had a good laugh at that one, and liked it a lot, especially the title. "Naif," he said.... that dear beloved, treasured and departed husband of mine.