Wide-eyed Wonder

Last night I went back to University for my first Art History class.  I was a bit nervous so I spent a long time on deciding what to wear to class.  I didn’t want to look too ‘mature’ or like I was trying to be 20 again.  I ended up wearing jeans, Toms, and a knit-hoodie over a t-shirt.

Survey of Art History.  I walked in early as I left the house probably 10 minutes before I should.  The Professor and I appear to be the same age.  Her life has been filled with the pursuit of learning about and teaching Art History….specifically her area of study are Classical, Medieval, Renaissance, Baroque and Eighteenth-Century European Art & Architecture.  Wow.  She would be the person to go to Europe with!

Art history has historically been understood as the academic study of objects of art in their historical development and stylistic contexts, i.e. genre,designformat, and style.

I didn’t sit in the back, but I wasn’t about to sit up front….I chose the middle ground.  Ok, so far so good.  Luckily, because it is an evening class, all of the students aren’t 20…just about 80%.

One young man sat next to me and asked if I was a student or a professor.  I smiled and said, “this is my first Art History class”.  I received a relaxed “Cool” from him.  Was I that laid back as an undergraduate?  Did I look that young?  By looking at the picture below, I believe the answer is ‘yes’.  I was 21.  The guy seated next to me in last nights class wasn’t even born.  

I was nervous as the class began and even had that feeling that everyone was looking at me.  paranoid much?  I shook that off and just relaxed.  I remember the “older” woman in my Cost Accounting class back in the day who was a grandmother in her early 60’s and started college.  If SHE could do it, I can do it.

Plus, Art History Majors are a LOT more laid back than the anal retentive Accounting & Finance Majors of my yesteryear.  They are rather cool and hip and really love art and what makes art tick and why people create the way they do.  That I like very much.

It all goes back to the lady in the black dress at Philbrook.  It is my favorite painting there and I could just sit and look at her.  I don’t know the actual name of the painting, I just call her the lady in the black dress and everyone knows what I’m talking about.  It’s funny how an exposure as a child to the Arts can completely shape your thirst for more….more Art, more music, more Opera, more ballet.

I waylaid my anxiety and sat and listened to the professor.  When she asked each of us why we are in the class, I listened to all the younger students trying to impress her with detailed descriptions.  When it came to me I simply said, “I love looking at Art & learning about it and I want to discover why.”    That seemed to please her.  She didn’t say, “and why are YOU in this class old lady?”  which I appreciated very much.

It’s interesting the difference thirty years makes…how you handle yourself in a classroom and how you perceive your surroundings.  I’m interested, involved and really wanting to soak it all in and learn about Art….why, what, who, how.

It’s a great feeling.  It’s a new path and it feels really, really right.






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