The Art Director at Walsingham Academy (local private school, K-12) asked me if I'd be a guest artist in October. He viewed my blog here and liked what he saw, so said "Come teach that stuff!" He's an eccentric, high energy guy that makes stuff happen. He organizes the musical events, theatre plays, etc. Big job = big energy. He does it well!
I like this school because it's small. Big enough that it's doing well and is well known in the area, but small enough that the classes are small and the teachers really get to know the students. The upper school art teacher, Ms. Lemay, and I discussed doing a 3-day workshop and it was all set up in a matter of a few days.
Then this notification popped up on my phone from the school! Now everyone that subscribes to these notifications knows = fear (insert giant eyeballs). I SO wanted to do this workshop, but fear always comes in to humble me, to remind me just WHY I do what I do. Okay, I got this.
Leading up to the workshop the Art Director, Mr. Nicoloff, asked if I'd bring in some artwork to display so they could have a board with my artwork to draw in interest. I put a few prints into frames, wrote up a quick bio, and had it set up within the week. My daughter (14) helped me carry them all into the school and get them hung. It all happened rather quickly, but that's usually better for me : )
It was funny at this point for me to witness all the feelings I had going on inside of me. So vulnerable, so "on-display", so "what will people think"? I was wishing he wouldn't have asked for a photo so they wouldn't recognize me.
Then I stood back and realized that my art is who I am. I'm about to teach AP Art Students to keep showing up and try new things and just be brave enough to get your visions onto canvases. To be sensivite enough to paint the soulful things that come up, but strong enough to not care too much what others think. Mmmm . . . a lifelong lesson.
I gave the students an overview of my style and then walked them through my layered proess, step by step. It was a process they had never done before, so there was some hesitation at first. I remember that fear in high school art classes. It takes courage to know you probably won't be really good at something the first time you do it, but it's worth trying anyways. Soon, though, they were jumping in and just going for it. It was a small class, so we could talk about process and I could answer questions. I could see the fear and uncomfortable feelings melting away.
Color blending. Stencil designing. Mark making. Image selections.
On Day 2, when I came back, Ms. Lemay wanted to get her hands messy too! I smiled. We all want to release that inner child that wants to play, don't we? It's so freeing to just be messy, let you hands get covered in paint, and smear things around. Playful is good.
The students were given an extra four days to finish after I left, so I went back to the school the following week to view the display board. They really did a great job. Following intuition and trusting the next step. It was a great experience for me . . . to watch them learn and learn from them.
Congratulations, Walsingham AP Art Students! I love your bravery in these paintings! Thank you for letting me visit and being willing to try something new!
Here is the post that Walsingham did about it. I really had a great time!
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