Archive for the ‘Education’ Category

Damn. Merde. Burgleflickle.

I’d so very much like to finish buying the books in my Amazon shopping cart but the internet just went down. Well if I can’t learn about writing by reading I suppose the only other option is to actually write… Fine.

This brief respite in finesse procrastination, in which I come up with menial task that somehow benefit my growth in some minuscule way, has me thinking about the real benefit behind reading for technique instead of just diving in. Wendy swears by the latter and I wonder if I’ve led her astray by suggesting she invest time towards formal studies in drawing to find a quicker understanding of the basics.

Does this stifle actual creativity?

Will proper technique drown the spark of creation that dwells within a fledgling artist?

Would I be writing these words if the internet hadn’t gone down and I was still surfing Amazon book reviews?

Crap. I caught myself re-reading what I just wrote and editing bits I didn’t like. For those that don’t know, this is a big no-no for effective writing. So much for all the knowledge I’ve acquired from books about best writing practices. Obviously the rebellious side of my inner-student stuck around past high school as I still don’t apply the things I learn through reading.

Another point for just diving in. You can read it, but without practice it will never stick.

Damn it. Caught myself editing again.

Still, there can be no doubt that pursuing formal education in a given topic is a productive use of time. Expert practitioners have passed knowledge to novice pupils since one man could do something better than another.

Wikipedia, Blogs, Twitter and Facebook prove that the desire to share information and dating statuses are a staple in human nature. But for the pillars of education would we have ever seen the advances in art and technology we have today? But then of course there would be no Wikipedia if people chose not to update it with content or read the content that is shared. There would be no blogs, or any other social information outlet, if people that do simply didn’t.

I suppose there is a balance to be struck between research and application. You must have both to achieve something great.

The internet is back up and I just finished my purchase. Now I need to find some other creatively guilt-free way to procrastinate with writing.

Also, picked up The War of Art by Steven Pressfield today after reading the first few pages on the enemy of creativity – Resistance. Resistance being a number of pervasive obstacles, like fear, that prevent you from what you want to do in life.

I’m looking forward to diving in. I’ll let you know what I find.


Read Full Post »

Photo courtesy of Flickr - johnanthoney

A couple of months ago Wendy was attempting to petition an art class at the local community college to gain some formal knowledge.

She made arrangements with her employer at the time to come in late so she could try to snag a spare seat.

Unfortunately, it seems the teacher had it out for her as Wendy was turned away without recourse, even though there were many empty seats and it was obvious not all registered students intended to show up. This was aside from the one registered student that was interjecting to say she wasn’t really interested in the class, whom the teacher essentially cut off by telling her to take her time to consider it.

Wendy took this kind of personally, and from what I understand the teacher, who from all descriptive accounts sounds like a pretty typical liberal hippy college art professor, didn’t exactly act the part.

Wendy mentioned she’s been wanting to write a letter to the teacher to express how it made her feel with the hopes that the teacher might not do the same thing to someone else in the future. I asked her if I could take a crack at it and this is what I came up with:

Art Teacher,

I think we can both agree that art is one of the purest and most rewarding forms of expression. You can create a piece that will be hung in galleries for generations to come or share a drawing online with the entire world in an afternoon. Sadly, I think we can both agree that fine arts do not have the foothold in society they once did.

Children grow up with video games and iPhones. Parents push fiscally responsible careers and instill doubt into those that might pursue a life less capitalistic and more bohemian. Art, like a beautiful rose, is wilting.

You can imagine my sadness in being turned away from your class this last semester as you were “at capacity” while empty seats watched us from around the room. It may be a faded memory for you, but it still resonates deeply with me. I am stepping out of the folds of conformity, taking a chance with my future and pursuing something I love. To be turned away from a supposed kindred spirit, an individual of notability in the local art community, was like a bucket of cold water to the face.

What happened? What happened to your artist’s spirit that compelled you to share and nurture life as an educator? What happened to your oath to cultivate the seed of passion within our youth? What happened to the optimism you must have once had to choose the life of a mentor?

While being turned away from your class has not, and will not, stop me from pursuing my dreams, I know I am unable to speak for the future pupils that seek your guidance. Chasing the dream of living through art is a fearful path and if not for those I’ve surrounded myself with, I may not have had the strength to make the leap. I am sure others are not so lucky to have who I have. They have you. An art teacher.

From one artist to another, I beg you to do everything in your power to indulge the dreams of others. Take every opportunity to steward the future of art through those that actively ask you for it – or they may just stop asking.

Please consider your responsibility for the creative futures of those that seek out your tutelage.



For anyone in a position like this art teacher, please consider the futures you’ve signed up to care for. Sometimes people have a shitty day or a rough month, but let’s try not to take it out on those that need you.

Read Full Post »