Testimonial by Cintra Wilson
Author, Journalist, Culture Critic
I took my friend Kimberly Brook’s online painting course on a whim: I’ve known her for years and deeply admire her as a painter. I thought that fooling around with paint might abstractly help with my writing, as practicing one art tends to massage the others.
I had tried to paint with oils before (my father is a retired university art professor), with little success. I soon found out why.
Most importantly, she drills into your mind in very clear, engaging ways, the most basic, time-honored nitty-gritty stuff you need to know if you want to paint.
Kimberly’s course, she says, arose from her annoyance with the way that many art classes fail to cover some of the most basic ground rules of painting. She’s a beguiling and impassioned instructor; she’s fun to watch. She takes a “deeply nerdy” approach to materials and art history; her lessons are filled with visual references ranging from cave paintings to contemporary art stars.
Kimberly’s stated objective was to teach us “how to see.”
Within the first couple of weeks, ideas unlocked that made me go “Aha!” I made a couple of paintings that were considerably better than anything I had ever painted before.
Once she reveals a few big ideas a kind of transformation happens: suddenly a tremendous amount of unused brain-space opens in your mind like a spare warehouse full of sunlight and trapezes.
What took me by surprise, once I got a few of Kimberly’s tools under my belt, was that I became consumed with a gnawing, persistent, and constant desire to paint. “I really think of painting as the remedy for living,” she told me once, and this now feels true.
It is not enough to say that Kimberly’s course merely obliterated my writer’s block – it did that. It also gave me a thrilling new space for my energies – an infinite landscape of new ways to express myself and appreciate the world.
(Warning: after this course, the entire visual universe breaks down into lights and darks and mediums and finishes, and you may retro-engineer every sunset for the rest of your life.)
(Also a whole corner of your house is going to be ruined forever because it will permanently become your studio.)
This course was a genuine mind-expander. For anyone interested in painting, experienced or not, it is an intellectual thrill-ride. It contains the spark which creates the desire to paint. I can’t think of higher praise for an instructor.
Cintra Wilson is an American writer, performer and cultural critic. Declared as “the Dorothy Parker of the cyber age”, she is best known for her commentary on popular culture which is often humorous and irreverent in tone. She contributed to the New York Times for its “Critical Shopper” series and is considered one of the 50 “most influential people working in New York fashion”. Wilson is also a regular contributor to the Hartford Advocate for her political column “The C Word”. Her books include Fear and Clothing: Unbuckling American Style, A Massive Swelling: Celebrity Re-examined as a Grotesque Crippling Disease, Colors Insulting to Nature, and Caligula for President: Better American Living Through Tyranny. She wrote a bi-weekly column called The Dregulator, which critiqued the tabloid culture and was syndicated in a number of alternative weeklies. She was a frequent contributor to Salon.com from 1994–2007.