Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Real real

 Recently, I've been experiencing a bit of nostalgia for my former life-as-teacher. That was a powerful experience. While I taught, I also worked at painting for galleries, and at illustrating for children. It all helped pay the bills and allowed me time at home with my kids during the summer.
 A corner of my drawing room at Grandview High School.

So I don't buy into the philosophy that one can't be a Real Artist unless it's a full-time occupation. Accepting another person's definition of "real" or "artist" only limits one's potential adventures, and puts a damaging-- pretty ridiculous pressure--on a creative spirit. People can easily do without pompous label-makers, but hey, we've made pretension a way of life in this culture.

  The goofy little piece above was done during my last year as an art teacher--a demo about making a small art object in limited time--and about having fun.  If I taught anything, I hope it was that the joy is in the making. Using one's hands to create anything provides an experience and a peace that comes close to meditation, and the effects last and last.

Don't get me wrong--my current freedom to paint all day is great, and I am thankful, thoughtful, and earnest about making and selling my art.
But the vast majority of my time spent with students was more rewarding--in a much deeper way--than using my time to make art for sale. I forged great relationships and received a valuable education from the students.
 I'm not planning on returning to the public classroom--definitely finished with that phase, but not the appreciation of it. I value that day-job more and more as time goes on, and wouldn't trade the experience for anything.


  1. Also worked in education. I know what you mean. :-)

  2. i loved reading this post for so many reasons, one of them being the fact that you talked about the rewards of teaching. it seems art is always at its best when you get to share it with others!

  3. Hi Tom,
    love what you do ... makes you happy! so everything shines...
    is my philosophy


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