I can't do this.
"I can't do this." "This is too hard." "I am not good at art." These are all the most common phrases I hear when I am teaching art. I always answer them with something like, "That is why we are doing art so you can explore art and get more comfortable with it." I totally identify with the students because that is how I always felt about doing math assignments. I hated math pretty much from 4th grade until college, when after failing the same math class 2 times, I took the same course again with a different teacher and suddenly I just got it! It was amazing. I still don't consider myself someone that likes doing math but I feel like I can finally understand that if I am shown how to do something in a style that works for me and I practice I can actually understand math.
So many of my students stop trying to do any art before they even try it. I love teaching art because it really inspires me to challenge myself to think up new ways of explaining how to do art and use materials I don't use all the time. I really enjoy working in ink and watercolor but I love to explore all ways of creating art. When I went into college for art I didn't pick a specific style to work in. I think it has been very useful that I can produce an artwork in all types of mediums and choose what medium works best for the idea I am trying to get across.
The scariest medium for me is acrylic paint. I just don't get how to make it look right. I have always avoided using it. So I bought a large canvas recently and decided to paint a succulent for my office with acrylic paint. Immediately those thoughts came up, "This is too hard...I'm not an acrylics artist." I felt just like my students. It's not that I am not an acrylic paint artist, it is that I have not done much practice with acrylics and the only way to get better is to practice. I got my easel out of the garage and set it up in my office/studio space and started working. I painted to a point, the point when I would get frustrated and it wasn't fun. I stepped away and didn't go back until I sounded like fun again. I am currently in the process of painting the succulent and it isn't coming out how I imagined but it is my own creation. Currently it sits half finished until I start on it again, maybe this weekend.
I am going to post more in progress photos of different work so I can share what I am up to.in this blog. I think it is important to share as I go to keep me in practice and motivated.
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Heather Norris is an Art Educator, Illustrator, Graphic Designer and Fine Artist.