My art lesson

When I was in grade 4, the class teacher was Mrs Robinson.  From what I remember, she had a youthful exuberance and zest for life, and I liked her a lot.  She also taught us art, and one particular time, she entered the whole class in an art exhibition.

We were practising with watercolours, and then came the day that we had to do the actual piece that would be submitted.
I remember looking at my finished piece and feeling reasonably satisfied.  It was shortly afterwards, Mrs Robinson came over to me, looked at my final piece, and without even asking, she made a couple of flourishes over my painting, and totally changed the original.

I was a shy girl, I never made a fuss.  But you can guess how this made me feel.  Quite inadequate.
Part of me understood that Mrs Robinson really wanted to make a good impression that her class had achieved this wonderful work to be exhibited.  I'm not sure how many other students work she "tidied" up that day, but I do remember thinking I wasn't good enough. I also knew that what I had produced for exhibition was a lie.  It wasn't, in essence my work.
According to Susan Wright who wrote The Arts, Young Children and Learning, '...teaching art requires preserving child innocence and spontaneity and avoiding any form of intervention that might corrupt spontaneous creativity.'

To this day, this has really made me insecure about art, and I do sometimes get a bit funny about art for my children.  I want them to feel good about the art they produce, and I know it can only take a few words to undermine their confidence.  My aim is to encourage, encourage.
I love hanging my kids' art up in the house, it's part of their soul.

I suppose Mrs Robinson would never have guessed that I still remember her mostly for that one art lesson.

Fortunately over time, and isn't time a wonderful thing for retrospect, I occasionally dabble in watercolours, but I'm doing it for me, I'm not trying to impress anyone!

Pablo Picasso said, 'When you come right down to it all you have is yourself. The sun is a thousand rays in your belly. All the rest is nothing.'

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