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I Can’t Draw, Therefore I Paint – The Ithaca Art Factory (Ithaca Blog)

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Ithaca Art Factory

A Fun Place for People who Have the Painting Bug

The Ithaca Art Factory. Photo Courtesy of Ed MarionA few weeks back, partner and her kids were seated around the kitchen table drawing. To be specific, they were drawing sock monkeys. I stood behind them, my hand cupping the morning mug of coffee, smiling and watching.

“Don’t you want to draw?”

“No,” I answered, “I’m not much for drawing.”

Moment of truth: I’m not much for doing things I’m not very good at, particularly in the company of folks who are good at such things. The oldest takes art classes at a nearby college and apparently, unbeknownst to me, my partner really can draw (who knew?). There was no way I was going to sit down and draw something akin to a stick figure and call it a sock monkey when her drawing had the proper dimensions, was shaded (correctly), and clearly representative of the sock monkey seated on the table, its back propped up against the wall.

That’s not to say I’m not artistic. When I was eleven I drew a pretty good cabin I learned to draw while home sick and watching PBS (I can still draw it…just ask). When I was 12, after my unbridled success with the cabin and flush with Bob Ross awe, I signed up for every art elective with my friend Stacy that the junior high would allow. There I even went so far as to make the art show with my magnificent creation in cartooning class “Elery Celery.” I know, I know, but the assignment required that I use a vegetable and tomatoes were all the rage. I went obscure. It’s what I do. This success was followed by a paper bag still life that I still cling to today as the proof that I did once draw something that actually looked like the object I was drawing.

It’s about that time that I conceded that the visual arts, or should I say drawing were, perhaps, not my calling. That is until I met an art major friend in college, who set about to tell me different as he was an art education major and thoroughly invested in convincing others they could draw and create art. So I took ceramics. This was my concession to him (I hope he appreciated it). Truth be told (apparently I’m feeling like unloading a lot of truths today), I loved ceramics. Playing with clay, it turns out, is a lot of fun. Messy, and it dries your hands out, but fun. I’d take a ceramics class right now if I could.

Perhaps, again, it was this minor success that fueled my next foray into the art world. Murals. I discovered after college that it was, in fact, pretty easy for me to look at a picture of something and then recreate it on a wall, much much larger than the original. I painted everywhere I found a space that would allow it, much to the chagrin of my post-college landlord. Apparently, also to the chagrin of a friend’s landlord who asked her to leave shortly after I painted a mural on her wall. She told me the two weren’t really connected, but one can never really be sure. I have not painted since. That makes it sound far more tragic than it is. I may be doing the art world a favor. We’ll never really know.


Ed Marion of The Ithaca Art FactoryUnless something were to come along like an art school for adults that let me paint, that provided me with canvas, with materials, with space and perhaps even a little instruction.  Some place like the Ithaca Art Factory. Local artist Ed Marion, a great guy in addition to being a talented painter, has opened the Ithaca Art Factory on Elmira Road and which offers gallery space, classes and an open studio so you can come in and explore your own artistic side.  You can bring your own supplies or there are plenty there for you to use as well. Go alone or bring a friend, heck, bring a party, he’s prepared for that too.

Classes are offered most Friday, Saturday and Sundays, with open studio paintings on most Thursdays. During the classes, Ed will guide you through painting a specific project, which you can then take home with you, and trust me, we’re not talking sock monkeys here—check out the NYC skyline on January 27th or the skateboarder silhouette on the 28th. Or again, feel free to check out the open studio sessions where you’ll be given canvas, acrylics, musical inspiration and Ed will be on hand to offer tips and instruction.  Plan a party, plan a fundraiser, but definitely stop in and say hi to Ed, check out the gallery, and get your art on Ithaca!

Jennifer B. Brown is a Contributor to The Free George. Photos courtesy of Ed Marion

The Free George is the online magazine and visitors’ guide of Upstate NY, covering things from Albany to Lake Placid, including Saratoga, the Lake George region and the Adirondacks. Check out our City Blogs section for our extended coverage areas as well.

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