Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Goodbye California Art Students....Maui is Calling

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Kathy and student Ada age 4
Once upon a time and not too long ago, I taught drawing, acrylic and oil painting classes at "Art On the Lane" in Danville, CA.  June 24th was my last day at the gallery.  It was a tough call and sad day for me.  I had to make some life altering decisions.  Major changes and shifts happening suddenly in my life. 

In this blog I want to acknowledge my students and what I have observed being an art teacher.

Some of my students felt my art classes were good therapy for them.  I had one student say it was cheaper than seeing a therapist and it was fun to accomplish something creative at the same time.  I agree, creating art is healing. 

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Alyssa age 16 self portrait
I have learned that some of my students had grown dependent on my art classes and did not feel comfortable starting with a new teacher.  I do hope the few students I am thinking of will one day give someone new a chance and consider the teachers I recommended.  Each art instructor has their own unique talent, gift, and personality. Each teacher has different knowledge to impart and expand the student’s awareness.

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Gianna  age 13 birthday
painting for her mother
It was a joy to teach art and for me the unexpected gift was to see my own art skills improve simply by creating with others!  One of my goals in class is to create a fun, easy going atmosphere to learn in.  I listen to the ideas my students have and what they want to create.  This pushed me beyond my own comfort zone and beyond my favorite subject matters.  My students and I copied images from other artist we admired.  And we painted subjects like animals, flowers, cityscapes, cartoon characters, and more.  It was my job to decipher, on the spot, the easiest way to paint and draw the chosen theme.

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Ada age 4 with her painting
of Mickey Mouse
When a student starts with me, we normally begin with a simple landscape.  I demonstrate and have the students follow my lead.  As each person gains independence and skill, I eventually have them paint their own subject or idea.  This is the stage where I offer guidance and direction and watch as they work more freely and independently.  Some students take longer to absorb the new concepts of painting while a rare few take off with only several classes.  It all depends on the learner’s innate artistic eye.  I do believe no matter the skill level of the individual if one has passion to discover something new, then they are half way to succeeding in that chosen endeavor.  
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Halie age 10 with
her two paintings
In painting, some of my new students have fear and self-imposed mental blocks that impede their learning.  My job is to help the student feel comfortable and get beyond their fears or ideas of perfection.  I give a pep talk, tell funny stories and cheer them on.  When they relax, the fun begins and the creative process is unleashed.  We overcome the mental obstacles together.  The student who learns quickly tends to have more confidence in themselves or simply approach the idea of painting fearlessly.  They do not hold high expectations of a perfect outcome knowing they are learning something new.  They are patient with themselves.  Most importantly to improve in art or any chosen discipline one must practice, practice, practice!  I encourage all my students to work with me in class but to also develop their skills at home.  You can practice sketching while waiting at a doctor’s office or sitting at your kid’s soccer game.  This will improve your artistic eye and develop your drawing skills.

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I have become good friends with a few of my students and parents.  I will miss seeing you on a regular basis.    I want to take the time to thank all my students for the opportunity to teach.  I appreciate your business, support, friendship, well wishes, and positive energy.  I enjoyed working with each and every one of you.  I will miss your enthusiasm and creative expression.

Because of my personal life change and circumstance I have decided this is a good opportunity to spend more time in Maui, HI.  I have my other business Maui Vision Rentals that I want to focus on.  I will better divide up my time between my two homes Hawaii and California.  I will return and teach in California part of the year and teach art workshops in Maui, HI.  I will be knocking on Maui gallery doors and you might see me painting on the beach creating new original ideas.

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I have attached a few pictures of my students in action and their lovely goodbye letters.  However, it is not really goodbye.  If you are ever in Maui or any of the Hawaiian Islands be sure to contact me.  This new adventure is bitter sweet.  I leave with a heavy heart but look forward to the healing energy of the Hawaiian Islands and to new opportunities that will surely come.  Maui is calling me.

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I love this quote by unknown author:  "Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars."   This is a good place to be and live, beyond the ordinary.  Never give up on your dreams it is the spice in life.
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Kathy McCartney
MauiVision Rentals