When was the last time you learned a skill? I’m not referring to the time your twelve-year-old daughter taught you how to use the latest social media platform. I mean when was the last time you learned to do something that takes months or years of concerted effort to reach a level of competence? A few years ago, I did just that. I learned to draw and paint. My goal was not to be a professional artist. My goal was to become competent in drawing and painting for pleasure. As with many of us, drawing and painting were parts of my childhood that I enjoyed. Particularly vivid are memories from childhood of my grandmother setting up painting supplies for me to use on our front porch, where I joyfully would paint for hours. It wasn’t a fancy affair. My supplies consisted of two brushes, cut-up squares of cardboard for “canvas” and black and white acrylic paints.
Before I started my art studies seven years ago, I had not painted since my childhood; however, I did from time to time sketch, often while on vacation. These sketches were amateur attempts at capturing reality. But I nevertheless enjoyed the activity and often got blissfully lost in the experience. Drawing and painting provided for me a sense of what is today known as “flow,” working in a way that so fully engages us that we lose track of time and experience the odd sensation of losing ourselves and finding ourselves all at once So, feeling a need to find an avocation that would be restorative, and a particular desire to draw and paint, I set about finding an art teacher.
Journal of Legal Education
Michael T. Colatrella, Jr., What I Learned About Teaching Law by Being an Art Student, 69 J. Legal Educ. 297 (2020)