Thursday, July 4, 2013

Love what you do and do what you love

If you approach each year in quarters perhaps it could be easier to write brief, achievable to do lists, lay down plans and tick off each and every goal you set....or perhaps you are a teacher and you refer to the year in weeks and terms!

I return to teaching next week for the start of Semester 2, hitting the ground running with my Year 12s who are almost halfway through their final body of work.  Plus two lessons a week with some Year 8s that I am yet to meet...potentially the scariest part! 
I am only returning to two classes, three days a week and more importantly I am returning to PEOPLE CONTACT!

I have been a teacher of Visual Art since I was 21 years old and it has been an absolute joy and privilege to have met and have worked with (potentially) 1000+ young people in a variety of different settings from a wide range of backgrounds, abilities and cultures. For my 21 year old self the best part of becoming a teacher was being an ART teacher. That to me meant spending time in an art room, making art everyday, helping others, watching their work progress, having fun and sharing what I know and love to ultimately spread an infectious love of Art further. Of course with that comes planning, assessment, marking, deadlines, paper trails and reporting on EVERYTHING that your students have completed...or failed to complete AND should they have failed you of course map out and implement strategies to improve on everything you are doing as a teacher to ultimately benefit all of your students. That's right I was as eager as ever to get out there and do all of the above and I honestly believe I did all of that (and more) to the best of my ability over the past 9 years. Making art every day just is not possible when you devote your time, energy and focus to your students, I know this because I tried it and I ended up tired, stressed and torn. 

The best part of teaching Art is learning from others, inspiring others and being inspired. The exact same thing can be said about being an Artist. 

When I worked up the courage to vocalise my desire to work as an Artist full time, I knew that what would need to follow would be more courage. Courage and discipline.  Courage to ask for time off from teaching, courage to learn how to manage my own finances, courage to attempt to generate my own income and courage to tell people I am working as an artist. These were all things that I knew I would have to do and over the past 6 months I have faced the hurdles of starting a business, staying motivated and defending my choices. I have gained so much and I have overcome many personal fears so far this year. I am extremely grateful for having had this special gift of time to do so. It all seemed so selfish to me in the beginning, as did being an artist. So much in fact I searched for ways to use my time to help others, which I will never regret doing. The lessons learnt from doing only what's important to you are plentiful. 
I must not worry what others will think
My work is my passion 
Positives MUST outweigh negatives
I own my time
My hair is not important
There are people who energise me 
There are people who drain me
Fears must be faced
I can make my dreams my goals
I can achieve my goals

Shaving your head is liberating for yourself and for others

It has been a huge transitional period and as a result it has changed how I view myself and others. How I view my abilities and how I wish to approach and balance two of my passions...making art and teaching art. My next adventure includes finally building my own studio here at my home on Tamborine Mountain to privately showcase my artwork and run small art classes for young and old. This will allow for the public to view my work by appointment and purchase work direct from me. I plan on holding small workshops, creative sessions and personal tutoring for anyone interested as well as other local artists and Art teachers wanting to work collaboratively or simply wanting to share ideas. 

These portraits were painted by Gold Coast artist and jeweller Phee Braitwaite.
We spent an afternoon painting together and chatting about ideas.  
Paintings created by my 8 year old twin nieces during
two hour painting session. We talked about colours, patterns
and balance.
Being an artist is hard, I've said it before and many have said it to me. For this reason many believe it's not worthwhile to become an artist. What I know and can safely say is that one can not become an artist you are simply born an artist. Artists see the world a certain way and have an ability to show others their view through their art. So I am forgetting about becoming anything other than my true self and should that be an 'Artist who can teach' or a 'Teacher that makes art'  I won't allow the boundaries of such titles to define what I am and what I do.  

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