For me, everything comes down to thought process. I create wherever I am. It could be in the form of words, pictures, sketches, or just thoughts. I might be on foot, at my computer, in a plane, my car, a train, bike, hike–you name it–it’s simply a means of feeling the work before the actual process of doing takes place. Since I’m not usually at my studio when interesting thoughts occur, I rely on my inner self to store notes. The cool thing about this is having a trunk load of ideas to forage around in later. The ensuing results are often very exciting. Planning accordingly for a project is a must, but being able to adapt to any situation is key as well. Bottom line; my mode of art is right for me, but in teaching we must think of others for the best possible outcome. Nurturing and allowing creative thoughts to come forward while maintaining focus is critical.
Sometimes the most eventful days begin by just letting things go. This was the case recently at the adult arts and crafts class I lead. Quick thinking, body language, call it what you will, my focus of what should be simply started slipping out the window. As I was preparing to introduce printmaking, tools out and materials in place, speaking all the while, I suddenly noticed there was a different level of willingness to learn something new on this day. Firstly, there are no grades here. Art projects are planned ahead and creative time is looked forward to by all who attend. I want them to enjoy the art experience as much as I do. So I’m not sure exactly when things changed on this day. Perhaps my sample piece was not strong enough for them to visualize actually making a print of their own? Was there too much process? Materials? Whatever the reason, a shift in thought happened almost as quickly. I decided to change my planned art class right on the spot. “OK then, here’s the deal,” I blurted out. There was a slight look of confusion on their face as I began passing out the best paper we had–large sheets of lovely watercolor paper I had been saving. A simple explanation followed; “we have a blank wonderful surface to work on and just a few materials with which to apply.” There would be no printmaking today. I was actually saving the coveted paper for a later painting lesson. On this day we “painted” with paper.
Thinking back, it never occurred to me the moment I switched my plan that I would do what I did. The word “save” has been weighing on me lately. My possessions are numerous yet I continue to add more stuff to my life. It makes me happy. My stuff belongs to me and it gives me joy. As far as the coveted paper goes–it belonged to them, and it was the best unplanned lesson ever! 😀
All images and text © Robin MacDonald-Foley