Saturday, November 4, 2017


At the start of this blog the focus was on teaching Beginning Drawing, and documenting all the adventures that take place behind the scenes. Taking note of how classes would evolve over time – on both sides of the podium and desk - helped to develop a long-term perspective on teaching + art. I also used to post little artsy-fartsy quotes that shored up my observations and go hand-in-glove with the assignments and imagery.

So once again my classes migrated for the semesterly field-trip up to the Institute of Arctic Biology's greenhouse on Troth Yeddha' to harvest reference sketches for our upcoming critique piece on organic composition (see backlinks to 2009, 2010, 2013 and 2015). And in prepping this post I revisited Google to search for appropriate quotes about “art” and “planting” and, aside from some extraneous blurbs about Robert Plant, couldn’t find a damn thing that even came close to what it was I had in mind.

"I think that one's art is a growth inside one. I do not think one can explain growth. It is silent and subtle. One does not keep digging up a plant to see how it grows." - Emily Carr
Eh, no, not really. The “dissecting a balloon” fallacy doesn't really have any merit in an academic setting, as one is supposed to experiment + explore how and why these thing work. Art is no different in this context, and it's the time + place to study the roots of the matter.
"Though I do not believe that a plant will spring up where no seed has been, I have great faith in a seed... Convince me that you have a seed there, and I am prepared to expect wonders." - Henry David Thoreau
Nope,  not quite right either: one would certainly hope it's the responsibility and role of an educator to plant seeds along with the cultivation of talent.

The proverbial fruits of our labor

So here's my own:
"So much of teaching art is found in a greenhouse or a garden. Underneath everything is making the mental mulch-pile: loading up a good compost heap with manure + garbage… all for fertilizing later in the season. Then there’s the clearing, the tilling, the planting, the watering, the weeding, pruning, not to mention plotting & ordering from catalogs. Eventually, maybe, there’s a harvest to share, to sell, to eat, or to preserve for enjoying later. Nobody sees any growth all at once - in the meantime, you just keep getting your hands dirty." - Jamie Smith

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