Where to start? I just got back from my professional conference and I think this is the best one I have been to yet. I hope that they keep getting better every year...that would be amazing, and something to look forward to. Despite being tired from the journey to and from St. Petersburg and being exhausted from running to workshops and presentations...I do feel a sense of rejuvenation. Not only in my teaching, but also as an artist. It seemed like everywhere I turned over the past few days I saw signs telling me to be an artist-teacher. Something that I have felt for some time now. I got into this teaching gig because I love art, so the only way that I can maintain my sanity is to feed my desire to create art.
I feel like there were many things this weekend that confirmed that it is okay to want to maintain my artistic self while continuing to grow professionally. I checked out the Dali Museum, the Chihuly Center at the Morean Arts Center and the Museum of Fine Arts...just wondering around, getting lost in all of the art, felt like I was feeding my eyes. Feeling ALIVE. In addition to my time in the museums, I got a chance to listen to other folks working through the same issues I face as an artist-teacher. From the general session speakers, Professor Chang's workshop and presentation I attended...it was all affirmation for me to continue to make the time for my art. And I finally got a chance to work with oils! (above, left) It was...different. I was excited by the smell of the oil paint, the palette knife, the new materials...Chardin's still life reproductions...but when it came time for me to paint...gulp.... Totally different painting experience. We're not in Kansas anymore, folks. I was frustrated, but excited. I feel like it wasn't a total loss, and I am going to challenge myself to try it again...but at the end of my short painting experience I just missed my acrylics. (Below, some of the pics from the Grissaile Workshop)
...in the words of Professor David Y.Chang;
Can you live it? Sure you can. You can be a practicing artist.…your life changes…after a busy day of teaching…and then to know that you have done something artistic to yourself is a great feeling. I feel strange and sick sometimes without know why..and then I realize I have not done something artistic, something in my studio…I don’t feel right, food doesn’t taste right…the minute I get back to the studio, doing something creative, something that was meant to be practiced…my illness is gone.
…How do we make it possible? Where do the ideas come from? When you do it you feel it….importance of attending conferences, to do things with your own hands…the immersion of studio experience should be the core of what we teach. Art teachers are practically all studio art teachers. We teach the practice of art, coupled with Art History and Art Appreciation... We can’t cheat ourselves…we love the practice of art…that is why we joined this profession. Taking joy in the accomplishments of our students’ practice of art comforts us…but why are we not doing what makes us happy? It takes commitment….It only makes you better.
…Setting a goal is important. Being artistically alive is important. Being a practicing artist means you keep the art alive, alive means growth. We teach as a career, but we practice as a life.
...so that is what is on my mind tonight as I get ready for another week of teaching and making art.
Artist and Art Teacher