“Why have you chosen to include art in your class schedule every year?”
“Art is my voice.”
“Art is thought provoking.” “Art is different.” “It makes me think.”
“Art doesn’t judge me.”
“It’s the only place I speak.”
I was appreciative of my students’ openness and was pleased that we as an art department have set up our students to truly understand the power and value of art. No one said initially that they were there to perfect painting techniques or drawing skills; they were there because along the way they realized that the process of making art was a lot more than that, it was the process of communicating to the world things that may otherwise be hard to articulate. They realized that they had things to say, to explore, to understand and that this was a place to do all of that.
Our conversation eventually turned into one about goals. If art was where they feel most comfortable, what aspects of art-making did they need to explore further to become uncomfortable? Where did they need to grow, to practice, to begin again? Portraiture, observational drawing, watercolor painting, acrylics. This is where my work begins. Creating lessons that develop skill and technique while also allowing students room to express themselves and hone their personal style all the while making sure that failures and setbacks never dampen their obvious love and dedication for this work.