CHRISTINE GARVER-APGAR, Ph.D., Research Associate
For the first time in over 10 years, my husband and I are not parents of a little kid. Our youngest is in kindergarten this year, which means that both our children are “school-age” and gaining more independence each year. It is easy to think of our lives now as being no easier than when we were managing diapers and tantrums. But despite our hectic schedules and daily dramas, I have had to acknowledge the sense that one day in the not-too-distant future, I might have more available “head space” in which to entertain other intellectual or creative pursuits.
To rekindle artistic interests from my pre-family life, I have recently taken up oil painting. One evening each week, I join other students at the home studio of a professional artist in my neighborhood. We usually paint a still life set up in the center of the room – plastic fruit, colored wooden blocks, a bottle or vase, colorful napkins. The set-up isn’t particularly inspiring, but that doesn’t matter. We are re-learning how to see, training ourselves to paint what we perceive in front of us, rather than what we know is there. The challenge of discovering a combination of colors that will correctly convey relationships among objects is a perceptual puzzle I wasn’t expecting.