Getting Your Art On: The Art of Life

We all need some moments of silence in our life and last night was my moment.  It was something of a weird evening for me, for I spent most of it sitting around in front of the computer with no music playing and no interest in watching TV.  I was basically doing some research and preparing for my bus captain group meeting last night–held online at 9 PM Eastern time–and after I was done with that I managed to write a few hundred words and settle in the bed.

I’m not sure what I was feeling, but the spark of creativity was not there.  I think it was my moment to just sit around and veg out.

Yesterday was the introduction to the first day of art class, and we managed to learn a little about Matthias Ellison’s background and why he’s the artistic dude he has become.  Today we’re gonna learn what he thinks about art and why it’s important for everyone to have exposure:

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

For the first time since beginning his monologue Matthias began to pace around the studio space, turning to individual students as he spoke. “I love art. I love all forms of artistic expression, but art is one of those things that, like music, reaches right into my soul and touches me in a way few things can. It not only provokes an emotional response, but at the same time it’s stimulating your mind to create an intellectual response as well. And if a particular piece—be it a painting, a song, a passage from a story—is done just right, it can even provoke physical response as well. It might be joy, sadness, or anger, or even passion, but it can happen. And the best are can provoke all three of those things in individual at the same time. There’s little in life that can be said do the same.

“A thriving society needs its artistic community, because it needs the stimulation that come from the appreciation of artistic endeavors. Every society that has grown and thrived throughout history had, at its core, a vibrant artistic base, because—as I see it—artistic endeavor is an offshoot of imagination, and imagination comes from intellectual stimulation.

“The inverse is true: every society that is waning or dying has lost its artistic community, either through negligence or indifference. Once society has decided that art is an indulgence, that it’s something they can’t afford, that it will appeal only to the intellectual community and should therefore be shunned as being too ‘highbrow’ for the majority of people to understand and/or enjoy, then that society, as a whole, begins to die. They have decided that only the lowest common denominator of every form of expression is acceptable, and that the only purpose of art is to be ‘entertaining’. Once that happens, it’s only a matter of time before that society vanishes from the face of this planet.

“Art is essential for a witch, for any of the Aware, because we need our imaginations and artistic expression is one of the best ways to stimulate our imaginations.” Professor Ellison looked at his tablet so we can call on a student without falling back on the four he knew best. “Shauntia, what is the acronym we use to describe the process needed for crafting a spell?”

 

His feelings about the importance of art in any society is one that’s been echoed from time-to-time by other academics.  You see this happening today in the U.S. and it becomes apparent that things like art and music are seen as something to only be enjoyed by “snobs”.  Matthias believes this completely and isn’t afraid to say a society that doesn’t embrace it’s arts is one that doesn’t need, or won’t, continue.

And this leads him into one of the reasons witches need art;

 

Shauntia Okoro didn’t need to consider the answer as it came to her automatically. “VEW, Professor.”

“Correct. VEW: Visualize, Energy, Willpower. But what does this really mean?” He chuckled as he looked about the room, seeing some of the quizzical looks directed his way. “That was a rhetorical question, by the way, but let me show you where I’m going with this—

“Let me work this backwards. At the end there’s willpower, which we all know is the force of your personality that you use to make the spell become real. As I’m sure Professor Douglas and a few of the other instructors of said, your willpower is necessary because you need to essentially override reality. And the stronger your will against reality, the more effective and powerful your spell becomes.

“In the middle we have energy, which you need to power the spell. The energy can be either mystical or dark, but without energy your spell goes nowhere. Doesn’t matter how much willpower you have, if you haven’t allocated energy to your crafting, the end result is nothing.

“But the very first thing on this list, the very first thing you need, is visualization. You not only need to see the shape the spell is going to take, but you have to imagine the end result of your crafting. The very first step crafting magic is to imagine what it is like to reshape reality, and that is artistic expression.

“Every good witch is, at their core, an artist. You not only have to imagine how a spell is going to look, but as you advance through your learnings it becomes necessary to put these three things together in a matter of seconds. Which means, the greater your imagination, the faster you can conceptualize the reshaping of reality.”

Matthias waved his tablet away and set her down gently upon his desk. He began making a slow circuit of the room as he finished his monologue. “Everyone has some sort of artistic ability inside, and as with any talent it needs to be nurtured so that it grow. Now, I can’t say that by the end of this class you’re all going to be equally great artists: that won’t happen because you all different people. And it will be the same with what you draw: I can ask the entire class to draw a scene and each of you will come back with something different. Because you’re showing me your vision; your showing me what you see.

“But that’s what we intend to do in this class: we intend to find your talent, we intend to bring it out, and we intend to help it grow. When you first came to school all but one of you had absolutely no idea how to do magic, and now look at you. Well, you now you find yourself in this room and with the exception of a few, you’re once again unsure about how to draw or paint. We’re going to set about changing that. Together, we’re going to attempt to make an artist out to you. It may not be easy, and at times it’s going to seem super frustrating. But nothing done here at school has ever come easy, so why should what happens in here be any different?”

Matthias laughed as he headed back toward his desk. When he reached it he waved his hand and a holographic projection of the woods to the north of the history and arts building appeared in the open space at the front of the room. “Here’s a good first exercise. If you were to go to the roof of this building this is what you see as you looked towards the observatory. What I want you to do simple: set a sketchpad upon your easel, grab your pencils, and draw what you see. I assure you there’s no right or wrong, and there’s no good or bad. There’s just what you draw.

“And the reason for this is simple: each of you sees the world differently.” Matthias smiled as he looked about the room and saw the sometimes grim, sometimes confused faces of the students. “And once I know what you’re seeing, then maybe I can show you how to see better.”

 

It is so true here in my world that imagination is the key to being a good witch.  Those who have the strongest imaginations are gonna rip reality a new one, and that probably gonna affect anyone standing close by.  We know Kerry has a great imagination and Annie has already demonstrated her artistic ability, so could it be that the reason these two are such great witches is because they can visualize better than their fellow witches?

You might say Annie could literally make this painting jump off the canvas...

You might say Annie could literally make this painting jump off the canvas…

The start of art is over–now we’re on to the next scene and a different kind of seeing…

Getting Your Art On: Setting the Interest

The last two nights of writing have ended up seeming a bit surreal, because of back inside Helena’s A Level sorcery class, and I’m remembering all the stuff I wrote about her the first time while doing it all again.  And make sure realize that some of the instructors at the school have been on the job for close to twenty years: there are two who fall into that category easily, and two more were creeping up on that goal.  Helen is one of those instructors who has been teaching for about ten years straight, but during the 1990s she actually had a few other stints between Guardian field operations where she put in a year or two of instruction during her down time.

And when you consider that every instructor, as well as the staff, were students before they became instructors, that tacks on anywhere from six to eight additional years spent at school.  When you had that on, Helena has spent nearly twenty years at Salem, and Jessica and Erywin have been at Salem for closer to thirty.  But you know, what’s thirty years when you’re likely to live for a hundred and fifty?

Speaking of one of the instructors is actually been at the school for over twenty years, first as a student and then instructor, we now get in to actually meeting Professor Matthias Ellison, the head of the Arts and Music Department.  The reality is that save for a few people who come in from time to time to help out with things, he is the Arts and Music Department, as the only other people who are associated with this department are those student tutors who Matthias reaches out to to help other students.

Believe me when I say I had fun putting his background together, because it gives you a little hint of how he actually got to where he’s at and you get to see a little of the Normal background that drove him to be who he is today.  So let’s kick back and enjoy Professor Ellison’s opening statements.

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016, 2017 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

Professor Ellison waited for everyone to find their workspace before he begin taking the first attendance of the year. As soon as he was satisfied that everyone was in the proper classroom he moved the tablet about three quarters of an arm length from him and turned to face the students. “Good morning, everyone, and I would like to welcome you to Introduction to Art. I am Professor Matthias Ellison, but most people call me Matthias. It’s easy to remember because it sounds like an important name, and I prefer being called that because ‘Professor Ellison’ sometimes sounds a bit too stuffy.

“A little bit about me. I was born in Canada and come from a Normal background. When I came to the school I was placed in Blodeuwedd Coven, were managed to maintain fairly good proficiencies and graduated in 1991. After leaving here I went to college in Canada and managed to get my Masters before coming back here to teach in 1998. I was present during The Scouring and fought with honor alongside a number of instructors and students—and some of those students with whom I fought for now colleagues of mine.

“I mentioned I’m from Canada. Specifically, I’m from White City, Saskatchewan, which is situated on the Trans Canada Highway about ten kilometers east of Regina, a city famous for its NHL hockey players, a song by The Guess Who, the hometown of actors Leslie Nielsen, Stephen Yeun, and Tatiana Maslany, and the fact that everyone messes up the pronunciation of the city by not realizing it rhymes with a body part found only on women.” He waited for a smattering of laughs to die down before continuing. “White City is also known for The Ice House, which serves the greatest hamburgers in all of Canada, and anyone who says that isn’t true is a liar. There’s little that makes the town spectacular: it’s what people in America would call a ‘bedroom community’ and today it’s filled with a lot of upscale people, two of whom are my parents who work in downtown Regina.

“One of the more interesting things about White City is the origin of its name. One says that it came about because of a misspelled store sign, but another—the one I like best—is that it was named after the White City section of London, England. I mean, it’s not unusual: a lot of places in North America are named after cities and towns in Europe, so it makes sense that perhaps someone decided to name my hometown after location back in the old world.

 

Everything in the preceding three paragraphs is true.  Not only did I do my research, but I happen to have a couple of Facebook friends who live in the Regina area, and when I told them that I was actually researching Regina for this section of my novel, they gave me a few hints on what to include.  One of the friends remarked that she was surprised to see me include the MacKenzie Art Gallery and the University of Regina, which both appear below.  My other friend is actually from White City and found it interesting that I wanted to write about it.

And it’s this friend who told me to make certain that I wrote about The Ice House, a local burger joint that is well known through this part of Saskatchewan, and which she actually said serves the best burgers in all of Canada.  So I looked up a little information on The Ice House and discovered that it is not only a burger joint but a liquor store as well, because Canada.  I mean, why not?  Load up on a burger and fries, maybe a little poutine while you’re at it, and then grab some beer  and wine for the drive home.

Come for the burgers, but don't leave empty handed.

Come for the burgers, leave with the adult beverages.

Their primary burger is known as The Iceberg, which is a homemade confection that appears to be the sort of thing that I would eat if I visited this place.  But if you have a huge appetite you can try the scaled up version of The Iceberg called The Glacier Burger, a CAD $29 monstrosity that will guarantee you don’t leave this establishment hungry if you can find the energy to regains your feet and stagger out to your car.  In fact, it looks almost like one of those novelties that you see restaurant served from time to time: you know, like a five pound/two and a half kilogram steak that if you can eat the whole thing you get for free.  Though I’m pretty sure with this burger you pay up front before you start eating.

Oh, and make sure you have a beer with it to, eh?

Oh, and make sure you have a frosty beer with it too, eh?

And one last thing to point out and that’s the correct pronunciation of the name Regina.  This one I got directly from my friend Nicole, who lives and works in Regina, and who has said on occasion that since far too many people pronounce the name “Ra-GE-na”, there is an easy phrase to help you remember the correct way to pronounce the name: “Regina like Vagina.”  Yes, just like Professor Ellison said, it rhymes with a particular body part found only on women–well, on csiwomen.  There’s just some of us gals who haven’t quite caught on with that particular trend…

Now that Matthias has given us a little background on Canadian geography, he gets into one of the main reasons why he is the person he is today:

 

“I really didn’t think much about my hometown’s name origin until I started here as an A Level. That’s because two months after I started here an album came out titled White City: A Novel, which was written and performed by Pete Townsend—he’s a guy who’s been in the band The Who for like forever, which is something I’m sure almost all of you didn’t know.

White City—the album, not my hometown—is what was known as a ‘concept album’, which means all of the songs tied together to tell a story. You don’t hear of those too much these days, mostly because the music buying public can’t really listen to a song that’s more than four minutes long before they tune out, but back in the 1970s and through a bit of the 1980s, they were all the rage; it seem like every famous band then put out at least one during their lifetime.

“Now here’s a dirty little secret of mine: before coming to Salem I wasn’t really that into music. I listened to music, but it was little more than background noise to my life. It wasn’t until I was able to sit and listen to White City that I started to get into music. It wasn’t that the music was great—because it was, it was fantastic—but it was the idea that one could convey a story using music and lyrics, and make it a coherent, meaningful experience.

“You might say that this album was my musical epiphany, because it wasn’t long after that I realized that all music tells the story. It does this because music triggers an emotional response in each of us and makes us feel things that we didn’t realize we could feel.

“While I was home on Yule holiday that year I parents took me to the MacKenzie Art Gallery, which at that time was still connected to the University of Regina, my other alma mater. This was the first time I was exposed to paintings and sculpture, and the experience left me speechless. When you’re twelve years old you’re supposed to find art stuffy and boring, but I didn’t: I found it amazing. When we were leaving the museum I bugged my parents to buy me a book that would show me how to sketch, and I spent the rest of my Yule holiday working on sketching. And I brought that book back to school with me, managed to get a hold of a sketch pad and pencils, and spent the rest of my A Levels sketching whenever I had time.

“When we returned home from school that summer I couldn’t work on magic, so I worked developing my artistic talent. I also asked my mother if I could take piano lessons that summer, and she paid for me to see a teacher. So that summer I was not only learning to draw and paint, but I was also learning to become a musician—or, I should say, I was learning how to play piano.

“After returning to school I asked the then head of the Arts and Music Department if I could perform during Ostara, and if she could get a tutor to help me work on a piece between the start of my B Levels and March of the following calendar year. She agreed to both my request, and in 1987 I performed at my first Ostara. After I left the school I went back to the University of Regina enrolled in the music program graduated with honors from there, and then worked on a Masters that would allow me to teach music and composition.

“And when I was finished with all that, I decided that the one place in the world where I could make the greatest impact with what I’d learned was right here at Salem. And I’ve been here ever since.”

 

There you have it:  Matthias Ellison discovered music because the guitarist from The Who created album that, I feel, is one of his best and most underrated works, and because his parents decided to expose him to art.  And from that he learned to draw and play, then went to college to understand it better before coming back to Salem to pass along what he learned.  Which is how real teachers do this.

Now that we have his background, it’s about time for him to explain why he likes the arts–and why you should as well…

Arts and Music: The Personal Evaluations

While I managed to cross the ninety-six thousand word line last night, I didn’t come near thousand words as I wanted.  Probably because when I got home around five I sat down and watched the last movie in the Millennium trilogy, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest.  So there was three hours spent camped out in front of the TV right there.  No complaints, though: you need that time to sit and recharge the batteries, and to get your mind and write creative space.

Will I write three thousand, seven hundred words by midnight on Saturday?  Doubtful.  But I will cross the hundred thousand word mark by at least 1 January, because I don’t intend on going out and getting stinking drunk on New Year’s Eve like I did last year.  So crossing that line will be a good way to celebrate the coming of what I feel is going to be a year just as shitty as 2016.

And as I pointed out to others, on New Year’s Eve instead of playing Auld Lang Syne, we’re gonna play The Rains of Castamere:

This is a perfect image of 2016--

This is a perfect depiction of 2016, and I’m sure I’m not the one holding the knife.

On to happier news now.  When Kerry goes off to visit Professor Ellison on the first day back to school, it’s often with Ostara in mind.  That’s what happened the first time Annie and Kerry visited, and it was implied that they discussed music selections when they visited during their B Levels.  And it’s true he’s there to discuss what he wants to do during this year’s performance–please also doing a bit of a postmortem on what happened last year…

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

“First, I want to scale back my next performance. Instead of doing one long, complicated song, I’d rather do two or, if you let me, three songs instead.”

“Any particular reason why?”

Kerry nodded. “Burning Rope was a complicated piece and I feel I may have gotten a little over my head. I pushed myself with an ambitious piece—” For just a moment he looked a bit chagrined. “And it almost got away from me. I feel like I need to step back a little and do a change of pace this year so I can push myself again the following year.”

Mathias said nothing for a few seconds: when he did speak there was a semblance of pride in his tone. “Again, spoken like a true artist. We are often our own worst critics, but if we can put that ego aside and look at those points where we know we were skirting with danger, it helps us grow that much more as an artist.

“I didn’t want to say anything because I didn’t want to stifle your confidence, but I had my doubts you could actually pull that performance all. It wasn’t that I thought you wouldn’t play well; it was more that I was worried you were going to convince yourself you couldn’t do piece correctly. And when you go into a performance like that with any sort of doubt, the results can sometimes be disastrous.

“It was a good performance: maybe not the best you could’ve done, but still a hell of a lot better than what most people were doing. But from where I was sitting I could see that look in your eyes on a couple of occasions where you were wondering, ‘What the hell have I gotten myself into?’ The fact you got through it with nary a bobble is another sign of true artists: keep pushing on no matter what.”

Matthias stood and circled around to the edge of his desk. “As a C Level you have an option on three songs, though as you know you have to keep them relatively short. If you’re looking at doing something a little simpler, three songs isn’t a problem.”

Kerry smiled, appearing relieved. “Thank you, Professor.”

“You’re welcome. And as I’m sure you’re going to discover, Nadine is also doing three songs. So you guys will be able to rehearse together again.” He took a couple of paces away from his desk. “Since you indicated a first thing you want to discuss, I gather there’s a second?”

 

In the B Level novel Kerry shared his concerns with Annie that perhaps the song he played shouldn’t have been the song he played, and he felt as if he’d taken on too much too soon.  Were finally hearing that Professor Ellison agrees with that summation, but that he’s also happy to hear that Kerry learned from the experience and wants to scale things back just a little this next time around.  Someone might say, “Well, performing three songs isn’t actually scaling back,” but Kerry will have an option of playing three, which means he can only play two if he wants.  Sure, two five minute songs is still ten minutes of performing, but at least you break up the action a bit.

Now to Kerry’s done with his postmortem–and this time around he didn’t beat himself up too bad–he gets to the second part of why he’s there.  Beyond the, “I want to talk about what I want to play this year,” stuff:

 

“There is.” Kerry stretched his shoulders before letting them drop to his sides. “For the performances this year I’d like to work with keyboard workstations.”

This caused Matthias to return to the front of his desk where he once more against the edge. “That’s interesting to hear. But why the sudden interest in working with that sort of equipment?”

Kerry ran his right hand through his hair a couple of times. “Last year it was really cool to get to use all that different equipment. I mean, playing Tony’s ARP was tremendous, and I got to use a mellotron which was cool, but the more I thought about it over the summer the more I realize that stuff is all part of the past.” He gave a quick shrug. “If I’m gonna play in modern times, I need to know how to use modern equipment.”

Matthias returned rubbing his chin. “Hence using a workstation.”

“Yeah. I did some research over the summer and saw what you can do with the new workstations. I want to learn how to create and modify MIDI files; I want to use one with DAW software; most of all I want to be able to do things like split the keyboard and switch between engines and use customized play lists. And you’re only going to be able to do that with a modern keyboard workstation.”

For a few seconds Matthias regarded Kerry. “You know what Tony thought about new equipment, don’t you?”

Kerry was well aware what Tony Banks thought on that subject. “He said he always tried to work with the newest technology and he didn’t look back on the old stuff with any sort of nostalgia.”

“Pretty much. He certainly liked working with digital samples more than he liked working with stretching tapes and overheated electronics.” He stood up once more began heading toward the door, waving it open as he turned towards his guests. “Come on, I want to show you both something.”

 

Ah, keyboard workstations, something I spent a good two weeks researching just so I could get a thousand good words on the matter.  (Trust me, it’s usually like that…)  Kerry got to play with a bit of history during his B Level Ostara performance, but he also got a taste of the present when he used an Akai keyboard controller to play MIDI files so his keyboard sounded like an organ.  So now he wants to move up to creating those files and working with Digital Audio Workstations (DAW) and splitting that keyboard so he can pretty much play two different things at the same time.

You know, just like real musicians do.

Which means we keep to see what sort of goodies Professor Ellison has stashed away in the Keyboard room–

Arts and Music: The Necessary Introductions

It was on to a new chapter in the new scene last night, but only after I watched Part Two of the Millennium Trilogy, The Girl Who Played with Fire.  I’ve been meaning to watch the whole trilogy for a while, and since it is leaving Netflix in a couple of weeks, I figured I could spend some of my time after getting home from work getting through each of the three films.  And once I’m through the films, it’s time to get to writing.

So tonight I watched the last film, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets Nest, then do another thousand words or so in the new scene–which, by the way, has Annie and Kerry out meeting Helena and Erywin at the Witch House; you can probably figure out what’s happening there.  And after that scene is done, it’s time to have the first new class with the instructor being profiled today.

We haven’t actually seen much of Matthias Ellison.  Sure, he hosts the Ostara performances Annie teaches art and music, but it is a bit more than that.  Not only did he get Kerry’s musical interests going, but during the Day of the Dead attacks we aw that he was one of the headmistress’ seconds in command, the other being Deanna.  Those are two unusual individuals to have getting ready to step in and take over the school if you’re killed, but there must be obvious reasons why both these people have that position.

Let’s hope we never get a chance to see them in action.

We ended up at Deanna yesterday and today we go over to Matthias’ office.  There’s a couple of different reasons why the kids go to see on the first day back from school, and today they’ve added another reason:

 

(The following excerpts from The Foundation Chronicles, Book Three: C For Continuing, copyright 2016 by Cassidy Frazee)

 

Matthias Ellison jaunted back to his office in the Auditorium precisely at thirteen hours after eating lunch with the headmistress, the staff, and the instructors of Salem in the Main Conference Room located directly across from the headmistress’s office. He was eager to get back to his office because he felt it wouldn’t be long before he was visited—not that he hadn’t been visited today. Several students, mostly new C Levels would have him for the first time, stop by to say hello and get acquainted.

But there were two students in particular Matthias was waiting to greet…

At a quarter past the hour he heard a dual pair footsteps approaching and figured that the visitors you been expecting all morning were now arriving. The moment they were framed in his doorway he stood to greet them. “Ah, there you are.”

Annie placed her hands upon her hips and smiled. “Were you really waiting for us, Professor?”

“Of course. You’ve stopped by on this day the last two years, so why wouldn’t I expect you to swing by today?” He came from around his desk and motioned Annie and Kerry towards seats. “How you doing, Kerry? Have a good summer?”

By now Kerry was used to having instructors asking him about his summer. He’d also gotten used to giving the same answer… “It could’ve been better. Things didn’t quite turn as they should.”

Matthias didn’t wish to dwell on the matter. He saw the look on Kerry’s face before he gave his answer and knew that whatever happened over the last three months, it rather pained the boy. “Well then, let’s talk about the present and the future. Are you both excited to be in my class this year?”

 

This is the year all the C Levels get to try their hand at drawing and painting.  And when we get to the scene of the first day in Professor Ellison’s class–and it is actually the next scene I’ll work on once I’m done with the current scene I’m in–one will get a chance to see just how passionate he is about art and role it plays in society.

Matthias is also somewhat empathetic to his students, and those who were about to be his students.  He realized Kerry didn’t have a good summer just from the way the boy acted: probably the professors’ ability to pick up on the feelings of a person before transferring them to the canvas.  And when the day half over Kerry is a little tired of being asked about his summer holiday–which we all know by now wasn’t

''How do I tell Mom that sharing a hotel room in different cites and killed bad guys ever so often is normal witch friends stuff?"

”Do you have to keep asking about my summer?  Couldn’t you just ask if I had any new hobbies, like mugging people using magic?”

But we quickly learn that carries a little nervous about this new class as well.  How do we know?  Because, someone tells us so:

 

“I’m extremely excited.” Annie reached over and patted Kerry’s hand. “Mi edin i samo lyubov, however—I think he’s a little nervous.”

Kerry gave a nervous shrug. “I’m not a very good artist.”

Matthias leaned against his desk. “Should I take that to mean you’re afraid you’re gonna suck? Because you already know my opinion about artists who suck.”

Kerry looked off into a corner of the room for a second while he chuckled. “At least they took their shot, right?”

“The ones who never suck are the ones who never try.” Matthias folded his hands in front of him and grew relaxed. “I’m not going to expect anyone to finish up the year with this amazing artistic ability that came from out of nowhere: it’s a skill that one needs to develop and that takes time. What I will do, however, is try and pull that ability out of you so that you can develop it properly.” He shrugged. “That’s all I intend to do: what you intend to do with what you discover is your business.”

After a moment’s thought Kerry stopped fidgeting and sat back in his chair, forcing himself to relax. “I know, Professor. Just that—”

“You want to do well. I daresay you want to be as good as this young lady sitting to your left.” Matthias turned his attention to Annie. “I do hope this introductory class doesn’t bore you, however. You’ve already shown exceptional talent in this area.”

Annie shook her head as if to dismiss his worries. “I’m a self-taught student, Professor, which means there’s always new things to learn. Even though I’m a fairly good sketch artist and painter, there’s a great deal of room for improvement.”

Matthias clapped his hands together and rubbed his palms for several seconds. “Spoken like a true artist. With art we never stop learning; just when we think we’ve learned everything there is to know, something new comes along and we have to master that.”

Kerry suddenly seemed excited. “That’s kind of what I want to talk about, Professor.”

“Oh?” Matthias set his left arm across his torso and rested his right elbow against the hand so he can rub his chin. “And what is this thing you wish to discuss?”

After a couple of deep breaths Kerry was ready to speak. “I thought a lot about my last Ostara performance and while I’m happy with it, I don’t want to repeat that. There is a couple of things I want to do for next Ostara—”

Matthias continued rubbing his chin. “Go on.”

 

We see that with like a few other things, Annie is self-taught were art is concerned.  We know she learned to draw the early age because she’s told us so: she’s mentioned that over the years her sketches in her wedding book have improved over the first one she did.  And given that she is shown over the last two years that her drawing and painting is fairly competent, it’s going to be interesting to see what she does when she has an opportunity to learn from someone who knows what they’re doing.

Kerry is nervous about art, but he’s eager to try. He is stated before on numerous occasions that he would love to know how to draw: now he is going to get his chance.  But the thing this scene does is set up something else that has Kerry’s interest, and from here on out a lot of this scene revolves around him.  And given how his relationship with Professor Ellison originally developed, probably not difficult to see where I’m going…