” Create like a god, command like a king, work like a slave.”
One week down,one to go. What’s that you say? One week done , of teaching the Winterim session at Edgewood, where students get an entire semester’s amount of work and credit.It’s an intense experience, 3 hours a day for each class ( I’m teaching 2 classes) for the students and for me as well. I chose today’s quote because as an artist I know what Brancusi is talking about but , HEY, as an art TEACHER he has hit the nail on the head! I create the environment for them to make art, I “command” them to try their best, and seriously folks, teaching 6 hours of art everyday is working like a slave!! Teachers out there , are you with me??
This past week started out with me standing in for the model for Figure Drawing class. He hadn’t arrived yet so I got up on the platform and started explaining the measuring tools used by artists to map out the human figure. At some point I got down off the platform to check on people’s understanding. Thinking I would LEAP back up onto the platform gracefully , I miscalculated and fell flat on my face , IN FRONT OF EVERYBODY!! NICE! Great way to make a first impression. I have big black and blue marks on my legs marking the exact spots of impact….
The rest of the week went by in a blur of activity. The students get so much accomplished with so much time to work every day.They work ,”like slaves” and I’ve seen the frustration, the tears ( oh yes), the excitement when it starts to come together, the relief when I tell them to not worry about the GRADE but make a big mess instead. I’ve heard all the excuses, ” I have control issues,” ” I was never good at using charcoal”, ”I CAN’T DRAW !!!!” And have given them all the same ‘feedback’ , (command) ” Just keep trying”
If all goes like it has in the past , the second week will be more of the same; different projects, more frustration, more successes and by the time it’s all over , most of the students are amazed at what they’ve accomplished in 2 short weeks! They’ve created art, gained some insight into what it takes to BE an artist , and gained confidence in their abilities to continue making art in the future. It’s an amazing thing to see!