Thursday, January 21, 2016

Stop projecting yourself onto others!

Last semester has been quite difficult. I kept seeing lack of progress in my students, instead noticing their repetitive mistakes. It seemed to me that some get stuck in certain areas at the expense of the whole painting. Others use way too many colors. Yet another bunch never has enough time, and most don't trust in their creativity and inner voice. These problems kept me up at night and made me rethink time and again why I'm bothering to teach at all if I see no progress in my pupils.

It's when I started this painting, which differs greatly from my typical way of thinking, when all these issues hit me all at once like a ton of bricks. As I typically paint from life, and with this endeavor I was attempting to unblock my dream painting practice, I was facing a myriad of problems all at once. How do I bring out images from within, somehow convincingly connect them, and trust myself while doing it? I had to choose colors randomly, knowing they will have a different feel when placed next to other colors. I had to properly employ perspective, and hold a palette knife just so to achieve lines of desired thickness. I had to fight with contrasts, toning and vibrancy of almost every stroke. Throughout this turmoil, my own words of encouragement kept coming back to me.

I then suddenly realized that every single problem with which I struggled was an exact flaw that I saw in others' works. Essentially, I was projecting my own fears and insecurities onto my students.

Hearing this teaching voice with its practical suggestions made it come back full circle. What I need is to experience all these problems in order to be able to teach them. I need to learn to trust my inner voice as I'm teaching. Finally, I need to go through the quest of teaching to guide my own road to painting.

This semester started on this high note! :)