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  • Writer's pictureHelen English Artist

An hour of art

I love art and creativity! It seems like an obvious statement but I genuinely do. I love drawing and painting and sewing and being innovative with the materials that I use. I also love looking at what other people do – trying to understand how they tick and what inspires them. One way that this happens is through time spent with a few close friends who create art which is quite different to mine. I like the fact that we each have our own motivations and follow alternative paths to get to where we are going. I reckon that diversity, present in all areas of human life, keeps the world from stagnating.

In my world, where teaching art is a part of what I do, I include students’ work in my love of seeing other people’s work. Any teacher will tell you that you learn from what others do even if the idea is that you are their teacher. I would hate to think that I knew everything or that I possessed every art idea or concept in my head in order to impart it all to a class of learners. Instead, I feel that I understand the world from my angle and have enough experience that I can teach the skills and knowledge that I have. At the same time, I love to hear what my students understand and how they view the world. They might have questions and also they might have answers, or they may set off thinking in my head which leads me to new ways of thinking or discoveries.

Today I taught a class to a group of children instead of adults. I have experience in teaching children’s art but this is the first time that I have been involved in teaching children and adults on different days of the same week. It was fascinating to compare and contrast the way that both age groups come in feeling quite unsure and the difference in their confidence after having a go at what you are teaching. Teaching skills and then allowing those ideas to manifest in unique ways is really important in art. Art is individual and art students who have the opportunity to find their own way through the tangle usually make by far the greatest progress in skill and self-efficacy.

So, after a lovely day in ‘the office’ I am looking forward to taking the motivation generated by my students and innovate at home on my days off.

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