I feel like right at the beginning of this page I should mention I am neither a writer, nor am I a blogger. I am a painter. I paint. I sometimes take pictures and recently I started volunteering my time at the local high school teaching the “artists of tomorrow” portrait painting. I’m actually very grateful for the opportunity to do this. All you need is one kid to catch on. You see that spark or passion for paint in their eyes and you know, you just know, that you have made a difference. I will never forget the moment when my art teacher opened my eyes to paint.
It was grade 10 art class at BCS 2000. I was a little overwhelmed. I had come over from the Catholic separate school and their art program had not really challenged me. We would craft, put shiny paper on a cut out dragon, and for the majority of the kids in my class that was challenge enough. I was worried that this new HIGH SCHOOL art was going to be as scary and intimidating as the new school, new kids, and new locker combos. My teacher, Mr. Meszaros, set me to work drawing a few things to start. This was ok, drawing I could do. After looking through my sketch book, Mr.M asked if I had ever painted before. I recalled vaguely splotching paint around once and I promptly told him “I sucked at it”. He took immediate control of the situation. I was given a canvas, a pallet of various water-soluble oil paints, and a couple brushes. We worked off of a picture from a magazine, some cows in a field.
Painting for the first time was like actively participating in an act of magic. I would put a sap green next to a burnt umber and just run my finger down the space between them. The colors would mix and blend so perfectly I honestly thought it was cheating. This was too easy. Mr. M showed me basic brush techniques, color blending, and contrast. We problem solved projects together as my skills progressed and I worked on more difficult subject matter. Painting came to me as easily as speech. By the time I graduated I was reproducing Bateman paintings and itching to learn portrait work. I had found that “thing” I was good at.
I know it is asking a lot to think that I could effect that sort of a life experience with these kids. I certainly don’t think I will get through to the vast majority of them. However, If I could reach one kid, give one kid that feeling of belonging and accomplishment. That feeling of wonder and joy that comes from producing something completely your own and seeing that its actually really good. I feel, if I could communicate my love for art to one kid, its all worth it.