Before retiring six years ago and discovering art, I taught physics and science for nineteen years. We were frequently told about our students being individuals and how our lesson plans should be geared to the different abilities within the classroom at any one time. Fine words, but it’s only when you’re on the receiving end that you appreciate what they mean.
In Julia’s Monday morning class, the different ‘abilities’ are really different temperaments and approaches to their art. Some enjoy doing detailed work in pencil. I do not. My way of working is far looser and expressionistic. Today Julia wanted us to do studies of trees with exposed roots using pencil, charcoal, pastels and, with the aid of a brush, water. I hated it! It did absolutely nothing for me. I spent the first hour producing a pastel and charcoal representation of a photographed tree then started playing a game on my mobile waiting for the end of the session.
This shot of the ‘show and tell’ at the end shows what others were able to do.
Julia, who was aware that I was getting nothing from the lesson (others were enjoying the approach, I hasten to add) asked if I wanted some ink (she knows it’s my favourite medium). She gave me a bowl of ink and a torn train ticket and showed me the type of marks that I could get. Wow! Off I went! Within minutes I’d produced these three drawings and loved everyone of those minutes! The first two are based on Julia’s photos of trees and their roots and the last one was of a snowy mountainous landscape which she had.