OH NO! I Have to Write a Blog…
So, at this summer’s teacher retreat, Kim, our director, asked the teachers to write a blog…again…. this year for the website. I begrudgingly chose October to get it over with, knowing with the play and Art show I wouldn’t have time to do this later. I was really hoping instead of a blog I could contribute by making banners, graphics, posters, or postcards. Those things would have been done October 1. So here I am blog due tomorrow.
Oh, I know it’s due tomorrow; my house is clean, my pets are all clean, the drawer next to me is now clean. I can express myself all day long using color, shape and line, and I would rather, which is why I would suspect you all would be happier knowing that I am your child’s Art teacher and not Language Arts. I suppose if I had paid more attention during English class at school this wouldn’t be the mountain I’ve made out of a mole hill. So, mustering courage to express myself to everyone through a medium I am not comfortable with; I suppose I ask this of my students every class.
Blog commanded. Challenge accepted. (Pencils are sharpened in the drawer…even though I’m using a computer)
One would think this year’s theme “Creativity take Courage” would be easy for Hillside’s art teacher to WRITE. Yes, Henri Matisse, the Author of this quote is one of my favorite artists. If one was to have a hero in the art world he would be mine. He wasn’t a charlatan, he wasn’t crazy, (like Munch, famous for The Scream) he worked very hard and was loved by everyone who met him. Above all, he was a great artist!. He also said “I wouldn’t mind turning into a vermilion goldfish.” Which right now I wouldn’t mind, goldfish can’t type or write so I would have a good excuse.
“Don’t wait for inspiration. It comes while one is working,” -Henri Matisse.
Henri Matisse knew from the moment he first held a box of colors in his hands, that he wanted to be an artist. He worked very hard at everything he did, he earned a law degree, but art was the life he loved and pursued. After going to Paris and studying Art, he and some fellow artists, knowingly pushing the limits of Art as it was accepted put on a show at Salon d’Automne in 1905. Their paintings gained considerable condemnation—“A pot of paint has been flung in the face of the public”, wrote the critic Camille Mauclair and dubbed them
‘The Fauves’, which is French for ‘wild beasts.’
This name stuck and the art movement known as Fauvism had begun. Had Henri let that get him down, he would not have been one of the world’s most influential artists of the Modern Age.
“Creativity takes courage” sums up how Matisse lived his life. Every day this is asked of the teachers and children at Hillside. The simple definition of creative is having or showing an ability to make new things or think of new ideas. We ask them to think of new and inspiring ways they can help themselves and others in their community. We asked them to be courageous when sharing their ideas, and not to let others get them down, to move past adversity and to continue with their passions for learning and sharing.
But what if the first hurdle is getting past your own internal criticism? That voice in your head that says this isn’t good enough, it doesn’t look or sound right, it’s not new or inspirational to others. It’s garbage…often times I find myself a victim of my own harsh criticism. Even more I see my students in the same situation. They wad up their art and say they’ve made a mistake and need to start over or they complete a project and say they hate it. I get it, I’ve been there, so how do you get past it and learn to be comfortable with the critic sitting on your shoulder?
In an odd way a bible verse hit home with me in dealing with this.
Well at first I felt this got me off the hook for creating something that had never been seen before, but after a lot of thought I realize it meant that everything I need to create and be inspirational was already here, I just needed to open my heart to it. I also had to accept that nothing I do will be perfect, only God is perfect and all we can do is strive to be and do the best we can. We are not his clones, but we are made in his image. In Art, a photocopy of an original has flaws. We have to accept that by being human and made in His image that we have flaws, and our flaws are what define us. Practice makes perfect, or so they saying goes.
So I ask this of myself and my students; don’t focus on the minor inaccuracies, one can get lost in those. Step back and look at your work as a whole, does it convey your intentions? Ask another for their constructive criticism to see if they reflect your intentions
“An artist must never be a prisoner. Prisoner? An artist should never be a prisoner of himself, prisoner of style, prisoner of reputation, prisoner of success, etc”
― Henri Matisse