For the Sake of Art
Caution: This Coming of Age Sex Story contains strong sexual content, including mt/Fa, Ma/mt, Consensual, First,
Desc: Coming of Age Sex Story: Chapter 1 - A young, hopeful artist has a chance to study with a professional. His education turns out to encompass far more than painting and drawing.
Coretta James is probably my all time favorite teacher. She used to teach art at Williston High School when I was in the ninth grade. I've had a few pretty good teachers, ones who actually showed some enthusiasm for their subjects but to be honest, I've always had the impression most of them were only there for the paycheck; not Mrs. James, though. You could tell she absolutely loved what she was doing and she made you want to work your ass off to please her.
I suppose I was considered a little above average as a student, making mostly A's and B's but there's one area where I pretty much stood out and that's art. I've loved drawing and painting for as long as I can remember. I can recall my kindergarten teacher remarking to my mother that she'd never seen any kid my age draw people with proportionate body parts and actual joints in their limbs. My horses looked like horses and my dogs looked like dogs. I guess I was lucky to get the art genes in my family.
When I was eight, I got a paint-by-numbers kit for Christmas from Grandma. I did the painting but it felt like I was cheating. Those kits don't teach you anything about painting and when it was done, it looked all splotchy like those things always do so I went back over it and blended the shadows and highlights to look like a real painting, even adding a few touches of my own. Mom framed it and still has it hanging in her bedroom.
Well anyhow, art has always been my main interest and I've got scads of old sketchpads, watercolors, oils and acrylics in my room and stashed in the attic. I can't say that I'd have been seen as a child prodigy but I was pretty good if I do say so myself.
Within a couple of weeks of the beginning of art class, Mrs. James decided I didn't really need the basic stuff and started giving me special projects to do in and out of class. One I really enjoyed was a collage of various textures put together to represent some abstract rendering of our town square. I went through stacks of magazines and cut out pieces of pictures of everything from fine lace to brick walls to paste onto the poster board. She liked it so much that she framed it and hung it up in the school common area.
After that, she had me working real hard on the human body. She had books of drawings of heads, arms, hands, feet, legs and torsos done by some of the old masters. My homework would be to take one of the books home and draw three or four views of the same body part. She knew how much I loved doing that stuff so she insisted I spend no more than an hour on it so my other homework didn't suffer.
During the second semester Mrs. James had the students drawing each other. For the kids who didn't really have any artistic talent to speak of, she didn't grade the drawings on how much they looked like the model but by how well the poses and proportions were represented. She was a lot tougher on me, criticizing how well I caught highlights and expressions, even moods. Plus, my drawings were expected to look like the model.
I didn't mind the extra pressure, though because I knew I was getting help from a pro. If you walked through the bank or the municipal library and even our local museum you'd see her paintings displayed. From what I hear, some of her work sold for big bucks.
I knew she was getting up there in years but I was still surprised when she announced her retirement at the end of the school year. If I'd been asked to take a guess, I'd have put her at about fifty, fifty-five tops. I felt so lucky to have had her as my art teacher, even if it was for only one year. I was sure going to miss her.
Well, she had a surprise for me. Before school let out for the summer, she asked me to stay behind one day after the bell rang and asked if I'd be interested in private lessons in her studio. Naturally, I jumped at the chance but then reality caught up and I had to ask how much it was going to cost. My family was hardly poverty-stricken but we weren't well off either. I could make a good guess as to how my dad would react to the prospect of yet another expense.
Mrs. James just laughed and said, "I hadn't planned to charge you anything, Terry." That's my name, by the way, Terry. Actually it's Terrance Winthrop Farris. What were my folks thinking to make me carry that through life. On any of my artwork I bothered to sign, I just used T W Farris.
She went on, "You'll have to provide your own art supplies of course but if you're willing to do some work around my house like mowing the lawn and a few other chores, we could probably work out a barter system. What do you think?"
"Wow, that'd be awesome, Mrs. James! I'll have to ask my folks but I can't see why they'd have a problem with it. When could I start?"
She looked at her calendar. "Well, let's see. I'm visiting my brother in Denver for a week after school lets out so why don't we say, um, Monday, June 15th at nine AM sharp."
"I'll be there, Mrs. James. I sure do thank you for this."
She stood up and put her hand on my shoulder. "Terry, you have a rare gift. I think you're going to have a fine career in the arts and I do so hope you'll stay with it. Maybe I can give you a little boost in that direction."
Mom was as excited about the idea as I was but Dad, as usual, was skeptical. He made me explain three or four times that Mrs. James wasn't going to charge me for the lessons and that I could work off the cost of the art supplies. Mom and I badgered him until he finally caved, saying, "Just make sure I don't get any bills for art lessons showing up in the mail. And don't forget you have a few responsibilities around here. Your regular work will be done to my satisfaction and on time, understand?" Dad made it obvious on more than one occasion that he'd prefer I was a macho jock rather than a 'pansy' artist.
"Got it, Dad. Don't worry, I'll keep up."
That's when my little sister piped up whining that I was getting special treatment by getting to take private art lessons. I reminded her that she'd been taking private piano lessons for a year and that they cost real money. She came back with, "Well, yeah but they're no fun." Such a poor, neglected child...
Mrs. James didn't live very far from us and I was so excited about getting started that I pushed our lawnmower over to her place and got her yard looking really good before she even got back from Denver. When I showed up for my first lesson, she presented me with an awesome watercolor paint box for the surprise lawn work.
I was expecting to jump right in doing sketches and anatomical studies but I was way off base on that one. Before we even did anything artistic, she insisted we sit down for a cup of tea and talk about what I was going to be doing. Well let me tell you, it was just one surprise after another.
One thing about Mrs. James, she was not one to withhold an opinion. Like for instance, when she poured my tea and I asked for sugar, she said, "You should learn to enjoy drinks that aren't sweet."
"But I like sugar in my tea."
"But the problem, my dear Terry is that sugar doesn't like you."
"Huh? I don't get it."
"Terry, do you want to be a very good artist or a very good anything for that matter?"
"Of course! That's why I'm here isn't it?"
"Yes, that's why you're here. So let's start with a few basics. I know you're a smart and talented young man. That means your brain must be working pretty well, doesn't it?"
"Um, yeah, I guess."
"And you want your brain to always be in tip-top shape don't you?"
"Of course I do. Who wouldn't?"
"Terry, there are certain things your body needs to stay healthy and refined sugar as well as several other simple carbohydrates our society has become addicted to aren't among them. If you want your mind to be at it's best, your body needs to be at its best. Along with all the other things we're going to work on, keeping your body and mind in good condition is going to be part and parcel. Your body is an amazing, finely tuned wonder. If I'm going to see your best work, you can't compromise it by feeding your face with stuff that's unhealthy for you.
I wasn't convinced. "Well, some sweet stuff is good for you. What about orange juice? That's good for you, isn't it?"
"Fresh fruit is good for you but, with a couple of exceptions, fruit juice is not because you're getting the sugar but not the fiber. Besides, in a glass of OJ, you're getting the sugar from probably three or four oranges. It's the same with apple juice, grape juice, almost all processed fruit juices. You wouldn't eat three or four oranges at a time would you?"
She was talking to me as if I were her own child. I could see I wasn't going to win the argument but I still felt compelled to defend my sweet tooth. "But I'll bet lots of people who are real good at their work like sweet stuff."
"I'm sure you're absolutely right about that, Terry. But do you suppose they're all doing the best they can?"
"I don't know. Maybe not."
"Most assuredly not! Now, this happens to be very good Earl Grey tea so I want you to try some and tell me what you think. Take in the aroma before you sip it."
I sniffed and sipped and set the mug down on the table.
She frowned at me and I had to laugh. "I was just kidding, Mrs. James. Actually, it's not so bad."
She laughed as she reached over and mussed my hair. "Spunk and a sense of humor; I can see you're going to be fun to work with. OK, what do you think we should do today?"
"Um, I don't know. Draw stuff, I guess."
"Nope, guess again. No, don't guess, I'll tell you. Today we're going to look at photos of some of the great paintings and drawings by some of the masters. Wednesday and Friday we're going to spend at the Nelson-Atkins Museum in Kansas City looking at the real stuff."
"Jeez, Mrs. James, Kansas City is more than fifty miles off."
"I know but it'll be worth the trip, believe me. You'll need to get your parents' permission to go."
"Oh, they won't mind."
"I still want to hear from them that it's OK."
I recognized some of the paintings in her books but I didn't know any of the ones we saw at the museum. I think I learned more about art that first three days of class than I'd learned in my whole life and I hadn't so much as picked up a pencil! Every work of art we stood in front of at the museum, she pointed out things in them that I'd never have seen in a million years. You can bet I'll never be able to just give paintings and sculptures a passing glance again. By the time we got home on Friday afternoon, it was beginning to soak into my brain how much work lay ahead of me and I have to tell you I was seriously wondering if I was up to it. Any exalted opinions I had of my own artistic genius got knocked down a few notches.
When I was getting ready to head home, she said, "When you come on Monday morning, make it at about eight if you can. And bring some gym shorts and running shoes with you."
The best I could come up with is that she was going to have me standing in front of a mirror and drawing sketches of myself. I was wrong. When I came out of her bathroom dressed in my gym stuff, she was dressed in shorts, running shoes and a T-shirt.
I guess I must have looked as confused as I felt because she laughed and said, "How about I set the pace and you try to keep up?"
"Are you saying we're going to go running? What about art lessons?"
"It's all part of the program. I'll explain as we go. Come on!"
Well, I can tell you that retired art teacher was in better shape than I was. I kept up pretty easily for about the first half mile but then I started to flag. She had to slow down so I could stay with her as we headed back to her house. Along the way, she explained that being mentally fit had a lot to do with being physically fit. She promised that morning aerobic exercises would allow me to not only think better but see what I was drawing or painting more clearly as well. I wasn't sure I could buy all that but, hey, she was the teacher and the price was right.
I might point out here that if your mental image of Mrs. James is a frumpy-dumpy, white-haired grandma, you're way off. She had gray hair but she was tall, slim and apart from a few wrinkles on her face, she looked like anything but an old lady. She had a small waist, her legs were very muscular and she had nice boobs from what I could tell from stealing little glances at her T-shirt. She looked better than my mom who was not much more than half her age. Now don't get the wrong idea; it's not like I was hot for her or anything. I'm just saying...
We got back to the house and she had me shower and dress in the downstairs bathroom while she did the same upstairs. Then we sat at the table and had some tea (no sugar), a grilled English muffin (multi-grain) and some sliced apples. That was going to be our morning routine from then on. After all that, we finally made it into her studio to do some artwork - a week after my first day of art class.
Her studio was a converted garage with several skylights and big windows on all four sides. There were two easels set up in the middle of the room, several wooden racks around the walls holding completed paintings as well as blank, stretched canvases and a large work table. There was a big chest with about a dozen or so shallow drawers that held all kinds of stuff like tubes of paint, brushes, you name it. I guess it's pretty much what you'd expect an artist's studio to look like. It smelled of oil paints and turpentine.
For my first actual art lesson, she perched me on a stool, handed me a sketchpad and pencils, moved a small round table in front of me, wadded up some newspaper and set it in the middle. She looked at it for a minute then added a mason jar with half a dozen brushes in it.
"OK", she said looking at her watch, "it's nine-thirty. In the next hour, I want you to draw what's on the table from three different views. I'll be in the kitchen if you need anything."
"Uh, OK. Aren't you going to tell me what I should be looking for or anything?"
She smiled. "Just draw what you see. I can hardly critique what you haven't done yet, can I?"
Well, that's how it went for the next two weeks. She'd put something in front of me to draw, tell me how many views she wanted and then leave. The lessons came when I was done with the drawings. She'd look at them and point out every single thing I did right and every single thing that I either did poorly or missed entirely. I mean it's amazing that you can look real hard at something and still not see all of it.
After a few days of getting the same criticisms over and over again, I got frustrated and whined that maybe I just didn't have it. I only did that once, though. She got this stern look on her face and said, "Terry, your brain already has the ability to translate what it perceives into a representation on a piece of paper or a canvas. Not many people can do that well. What you need to learn is to actually absorb what your eyes are focused on and not just the parts of it your brain is paying attention to. Right now you're only getting part of what's in front of you but we're going to train your brain to get all of it. Do you get that?"
"Yeah, Mrs. James, I get it. Sorry."
"I don't want you to be sorry, I want you to concentrate on what you're doing."
At the end of six weeks of classes, I could keep up with her on a five-mile run, drink my tea without craving sugar and do a pretty credible job of drawing pretty much anything she set in front of me.