Saturday, June 13, 2009
A very Happy Birthday!
My amazing graduate students surprised me (completely!) with a birthday celebration during class this afternoon. I feel so honored to have been so honored! (My card and gift are pictured above; a shot of my delicious cupcakes are shown below.)
I believe all of us have the need to give love, to receive love, and to know that we are doing something that brings good to others. My students let me know, regularly and emphatically, that I am helping them, and this gives me a deep inner joy and satisfaction. This particular group, especially, means a lot to me, not only because they are wonderful people as individuals, but also because they are art teachers themselves, so they know what it's like to nurture others in the classroom.
Thank you to Alexandra, Audrey, Colby, Erin, JBarr, Lisa and Amber! You made me feel loved and very lucky today (and always)!
Lisa wrote the following comment on my blog (in response to this post, specifically), which reveals why I love working with these folks so much:
"Catherine, not only are you a great artist and a wonderful person but, you are a FABULOUS teacher! This paragraph is so demonstrative of your teaching! You make us feel SAFE and good in our OWN light!
"My biggest goal as a teacher is to have my kids feel safe enough to take risks and explore. To create an environment where they feel free enough to enjoy the process and not worry about mistakes. I tell them that there is no such thing as a mistake and that they are really just “happy accidents”. I explain how many artist’s best work has been created from what they thought was a mistake.
"Now, being a student again, I realize that I must extend this practice towards myself. I am my own worst student…..putting pressure on myself to create a “masterpiece”…to get it right. I feel even more pressure now than when I was in college. I am a “veteran art teacher” and therefore I should have even MORE fabulous masterpieces! Thank you for reminding me that just because I do a less than perfect drawing that it doesn’t mean I am a bad artist. Perhaps, I am just having a bad day or just learning a new technique or a new medium. Maybe I have something to learn FROM the drawing or maybe it just plain stinks-no big deal. Isn’t that what life is about? Would we really want perfection all the time? How boring and predicatable.
"When I do a demonstration, I purposely remove my example from the board so the students don’t get hung up on copying it exactly. So, why then do I feel I need to render everything perfectly. Part of the joy in life is our individuality! This is true in art as well. Great art comes when my students take the techniques or project and give it their own interpretation and make it their OWN! Thank you for reminding me of all these points. You inspire me to continue to remind myself of these as a student and a teacher. If I practice this as a student and a teacher then as you stated earlier, I will become a better artist! Thank you for your nurturing, support and your wisdom. I feel blessed to have you as a teacher! ☺ Lisa"