Happy Valentine's Day ! ... to those whose Passion is making and sharing Art!
I am sending this post today... especially to Sherry! "I" truly hope that this post encourages "You" to look beyond the aspect of making art that deals only with draughtsmanship. Draughtsmanship is indeed essential as a tool in one's toolbox... and a very important part of the process of creating Realism... if that 's your cup o' tea.
Like penmanship... it can indeed be taught... and learned over time by nearly everyone with lots and lots of structured practice... and then by merely using it regularly. There are also those precious few who are "gifted" by their nature and passion to do it more than the rest of us. Both penmanship and draughtsmanship have suffered drastically in this society... where shortcuts to success are the focus ... rather than putting in your time... earning your spurs.
Carrying and using a sketchbook daily is a great tool to improve this skill. If you can ever get a copy of Dr Betty Edwards' "Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain"... it is a really useful resource which offers specific short lessons and activities to painlessly teach "You" how to "See"... meaning understand... what you are looking at. There is a vast difference in those two terms. Most good libraries... or book stores would carry this edition.
On Friday, February 11th, "I" celebrated 67 wonderful... adventure-filled years on this beautiful Planet. Deb cooked me my favourite dinner... and I did what "I" love to do most... I painted a commemorative painting to mark the occasion. It was , for the most part completed on the day... with a few tweaks and twitters over the weekend. But in my true quirky fashion... it was created... and now offered to any who can make sense of it... and most especially for my Friend Sherry. It's "My Funny Valentine"... and yes... that tune was a "gold standard" in my childhood home... and still is mine today... joining Star Dust and As Time Goes By as favs on my all time play list.
The format is ... would you not say... off the wall. A postage stamp format. Some of the most beautiful art can be found travellin' around the planet affixed to letters and cards. As a child... restricted in travel... "I" had a passion... no an obsession for collecting stamps. I was able to "Imagine" what life was like in the Belgian Congo... Togo.... Yugoslavia... Trinidad and Tobago... just by looking at and dreaming about the pictures on those stamps.
That love of stamps... commemorative stamps in particular, followed me into my teaching. With one particular class... we studied stamps in Canada... from the origin of the "Idea" to the present day. We created stamp designs... together... and exhibited our "stamps" at the local post office in Kingston. It was such a hit that I decided to create a post office in our school... and we did. The postmaster provided letter boxes... sorting tables... hats .... mailbags and much moral support as we launched our Send A Valentine in our school. Head honchos from Post Canada arrived on our doorstep as visitors... and were so impressed by the enthusiasm that I was hired to write a unit of study for use in schools across Canada. My school board granted me a sabbatical for a year and I completed the task. When I came back to class ... the board offered me a Visual Arts Consultant position to in-service the new unit across the 41 schools in our county. IT led to my being hired to work on th A-Team... The Arts Team for the next two years. Strange... how the Universe speaks... offers unexpected opportunity and direction to one's life... if "You" .... pay attention!HAHA!!!
The purpose of this post is NOT intended to elevate my own position. It was simply a good "Idea" from a child with a "learning disability" (at the time)... taken by a caring individual as being worthy of expansion. A "Child" leading a "Teacher" (Off the wall by some folks standards) . That "Idea" so encouraged and motivated our small group of "misfits" not only for that six month period... but for all of time. Scott... that frail... quiet child... the "Idea" proposer... now teaches Computer Technology at Royal Military College.
Many of his class of "learning disabled" moved on to unexpected and highly successful careers involving leadership skills. All others left with their sense of worth... let's call it...Self Esteem... (capitals fully intended) intact. Their "disability" didn't really exist for many of them. The inability of the system of education to recognize and accomodate the fact that they were leaders... not followers was the main cause of their delayed academic and personal growth. That out of the way... and they soared and returned to the very same "regular" classes... where they and their teachers and peers labelled them as n'er-do-wells and misfits.
The point being in this diatribe? Simple! Self Esteem is primary to personal health and Happiness. Self Esteem comes mainly from Joy and Passion felt within. It can be enhanced and encouraged by others aroung or near us... but "We"... alone are ultimately responsible for creating it! Making art for these reasons... to "Me" should be the only reason for involving one's Self in the melee. If one chooses to beat themselves up because they can't draw... there is little opportunity... or chance that anything good can come out of being involved in the process.
I have included three jpegs which clearly illustrate ,"I" think... how Joy and Happiness can be achieved without placing such a high regard for "perfect" draughtsmanship on the final outcome. I truly enjoyed making this "Valentine" for all of "You". It may not be the best thing I have ever come up with... but it demonstrates my point fully!
"What would painting be without passion in the heart of the painter?"
-Stendal, French Writer (1783-1842)
"Sing! Sing your song... make it simple to last the whole day long.
Don't worry if it's not good enough to last the whole day long ...
Just sing! Sing your song!"
-Karen Carpenter (The Carpenters)
Sing! Paint! Play!... and celebrate "You"! "You" are the only "You"! Love your... "Self"!
Much love... and Good Painting to All! Happy Valentine's Day!