I will always credit my high school art teacher with helping me connect my desire to teach with my love for art. I never really thought I was good enough to teach it (what if my students were more talented than me?), but I loved it so much I decided to just stick with it and devote my life to becoming an artist. I gave up the thought of playing sports in college and traded it in for long nights in the painting studio... but I wouldn't change it for a thing. My high school artwork was total garbage. How I ever thought any school would accept me into their art program is beyond me, but thank goodness it all worked out because now I can use my story to develop young artists into confident creators! My long hours in the studio and serious attention to critique gave me the tools and diligence I needed to become a genuine artist. In my four years of undergrad, my artistic skills improved beyond compare. It was honestly hard to believe I was the artist behind my work at times. I'm so glad I made the switch from sports to art, because I would have never reached my full artistic potential.
My high school art teacher always preached to us that art is a learnable task, a skill that can be acquired. It is something that can be taught and learned, just like any other school subject. I always believed him, but now I know he's for real. If you put in the time and effort that is required to improve and LISTEN to the feedback, it can be mastered!
Now I know some kids just aren't into art, and that's okay. I know that my own story of hard work and dedication to this discipline will not motivate all of them. BUT what I do know is that in my short time with my students, I can try to help them create things they never thought possible. I can show them what they're made of! I know it sounds cheesy but wait until you see this!!!
Today things seemed to come full circle for me as an art educator when I was able to prove to my students that my mantra is totally LEGIT: "Art can be learned." I really try to ingrain this into my students' brains, but I'm pretty sure they don't buy it.
A couple weeks ago I stayed home sick the day I was supposed to start the portraiture unit with my Freshmen artists. I decided to make them try a self-portrait with no guidance, which I knew they wouldn't like. When I saw them the next day, they were literally scared to show me their drawings because they were not pleased. I tried to give them as many compliments as possible to keep their spirits up, and then quickly collected them to examine them further. As much as they hated the assignment, I LOVED looking at their portraits and seeing all the silly proportions of their heads and crazy stringy spaghetti hair! It always fascinates me to see how they work without my instruction and with no guidance. We proceeded to start totally new self-portraits from scratch together so that I could now explain to them all the proper proportions of the face and how to map it out on their papers.
After about a week of drawing, their new portraits are almost done! Today, I handed back the original portraits and LOOK AT THE DIFFERENCE:
(Original portraits with no instruction on the left, new portraits after a discussion about facial proportions on the right).
This is what just a little bit of time, effort, and patience can do to your art skills! #proudteachermoment