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Re: More on Moroles


Date: Tue Apr 29 2003 - 05:23:25 PDT

I wish I had had good art teachers as a kid! I didn't discover my
creativity and compelling desire to create artwork until I was 27 years
old! I changed my major at that time to art with the blessings of my
writer husband, but the rest of my family thought I had just jumped off
a cliff into boiling water. I kept changing majors because my dad was a
40 year career man in the same job, and I thought everyone worked in the
same field for 40 years. I just could not find anything that I knew
would hold my passion for 40 years in the areas I was pursuing. I had a
neighbor who was majoring in interior design at U of H. She taught me
how to draft in an afternoon, and I LOVED it. I COULD DRAW!!!! I made
up my mind that day that I was going to switch to art. I was terrified
starting into art school...what had I done this time??? Would everyone
laugh at me? Would I be so frustrated that I would fail at this? What
I encountered were teachers who truly taught. What I encountered were
other people who had the passion and the need to make art. It was as if
the doors and windows just FLUNG open....for the first time in my life,
my creativity was on overdrive. Being around other people who were
creative and having great teachers who challenged and inspired me, as
well as TAUGHT me skills, was the most amazing thing. I found me. My
own history has been my greatest catalyst for the way I teach art and
the fundamental belief I have that EVERYONE who truly wants to can be
creative and learn skills that enable them to soar. I find that by
truly challenging my kids to become deeply involved in a process, they
discover that they CAN produce and enjoy creating deeply personal work.
In the 24 years that I have taught art, I have only had a small handful
of kids who really tried to learn to draw and could not. In those
cases, it was not that they did not have a desire to learn, there was
something blocking them...some sort of spatial problem. I try to teach
my kids to see detail and order in things. I use drawing on the right
side of the brain and a few ideas of my own to break down barriers for
kids. It's great that Moroles had great teachers from the time he was a
kid. I think Surls was one who said he did not get into art until he
was in his late 20s. Gotta look into that one. THere are others who
got a late start who have soared. Parents can have a great deal to do
with this, too. Do they foster and nurture their kids' creativity, or
do they blindly not see it or perhaps just not attach much importance to
it. That was my situation. I had a parent who came to me WITH her 3rd
grader, asking if I could paint her trunk for camp. I really didn't
have time, but I asked her why her daughter could not paint it, as she
was a wonderful young artist. She said "Oh, but you should see these
trunks...they are all professionally painted." My heart sunk. I said I
could work with her child to come up with a great design. The
daughter's eyes danced. Mom finally said no, she just didn't think it
would compare with the others. Aaaargh. I had to get one last word,
and said, "well, I think she's very talented...if you all change your
mind, just let me know!" When we were doing our sewing project this
year, her mom helped organize the volunteers. Her daughter designed an
excellent pattern for a horse. She had great stitching ability, and her
mom kind of took over. I had to keep reminding her and encouraging her
to do it herself. I had another kid one year, making a chair. Hers was
a candy stash chair....with drawers and hiding places she created in
cardboard for her stash of candy. Her mom helped with the building
process and was a great helper to all kids, not just her own kid. But
when her daugher painted it, and mom was no longer in the class, she
came back in to see what her child was doing with the painting. To my
horror, I heard her say...well WHY didn't you paint it brown like
chocolate? This thing is so colorful...we can't possibly put this in
our living room next to David's chair! Aren't you going to make it
brown?" The kid stuck up for herself, but I could see she was crushed.
WHen mom left, I had a talk with her about art that matches your sofa,
and how unthinking our moms can sometimes be. I told her to keep
following her own creative urges and needs, as they were excellent and
strong. I told her not to take things like that personally, because if
she did, it might effect her approach to her own art. She was so
appreciative of the support I gave her, and I knew she went away happy.
Kids need challenge, they need meaning in their work. Well, gotta go or
I'll be late to school. Have a great day all.