Today's oil painting class was a little unnerving. It started normally enough. The professor gathered us Level 1 students together and brought us to the front of the room, where he began talking about the basic elements of oil painting - pigment, the oils that are used, why thinner is needed, and so on. Nearly half an hour into the class, someone comes in late. He seems to be someone the teacher recognizes; he greets him by name and reprimands him for being late. The professor then continues with his lecture, and begins describing the different types of brushes to us.
As he's explaining the difference between a flat and bright-edged bristles someone says in a loud voice, "Fuck you, nigger." The class goes instantly silent. It was the student that was late.
Professor: "Outside, now."
The student turns to go, and the professor follows. He turns back to the class.
Professor: "We'll take a quick break. I'll be back in a few minutes."
He and the student head off to the dean's office. My classmates are all sitting in silence, staring at the floor or facing forward, blandly. Since I'm no good at sitting still, and I assume that this is going to take a while, I head out to the student union and buy some breakfast. By the time I amble back, munching on a bagel, the professor hasn't returned. After a minute or two the professor returns, alone. He looks cool and unruffled, and picks right back up with paintbrushes.
After a time, the student returns to the classroom holding a paper. I don't want to stare at him, but it's distracting to have him there because I keep wondering if he's going to say something again. I mean, does he suffer from Tourette's or is he an unbalanced individual waiting to pull out a gun and shoot us all? (Call me paranoid, but it happened at another school in California this morning!) The professor takes him aside again, and we go on a second "break". After a few more minutes, he returns, and we resume the class. I think the student came back and stood at the back of the group until the end of the lecture, after which he left.
After the lecture, we drew a still life of a mug, a bowl, and a piece of plastic fruit. It was pretty basic, but hey - you gotta start from the beginning. We did some quick drawings on newsprint, critiqued them as a group, and then did a final drawing on our cardboard-backed canvas. That was it for today - no painting at all. That will start next Tuesday.
But like I said, that one student makes me nervous because I don't know what was going on. Is he kicked out of the class? Part of me hopes so. But if he is a crazy person, I don't want him to be even more upset, lest he decide to come out to the college and take revenge on our class in a violent, bloody way.