It’s Graduation Day!


A couple of months ago I advertised that I would be teaching drawing to people who don’t have any drawing experience and in fact may have said at one time or another, “I can’t draw a straight line.” Much to my surprise I discovered that the simple act of trying to speak to people about the possibility of them learning to draw threw them in to such a panic that they ran from me so fast you would think I was chasing them with a flame thrower.
The first day of class arrived with a mere 3 intrepid souls showing up, all armed with drawing talent disclaimers.
Deciding that three students would make a nice intimate group to teach we got out our paper, pencils, erasers and got started. Their first assignment was to do a series of pre- instruction drawings in order to establish an ability base line. Using the principles learned in “Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain” and other similar books I began to try to help my students make a shift in the way they approach drawing and the creative process.
Yes, there was a lot of groaning, suffering and sighing. It can be very difficult to force the right brain to engage when you aren’t used to it. The left side can be very pushy and tends to want to handle it all even it isn’t as well equipped. It was a bit painful and all three said it was more difficult than they anticipated. I wanted it to be fun, not painful! How could I ease their pain and still insist that they try the exercises? Maybe offering doughnuts would help.

During the week while I was mulling this over I received two phone calls. And then there was one. That’s right, two students dropped out and I was left with one.  I felt like a total failure. I must be a terrible teacher to lose two thirds of my students after only one lesson.  But I still wanted to teach this method, because I believed in it and wanted to see it work. So the one remaining brave student agreed to continue with me.  Neither of us had anticipated private lessons but what the heck let’s give it a go and see what happens.

The next weeks were challenging and rewarding all at the same time. Each week I introduced a new skill set, laying a foundation and block by block building on it. I couldn’t have asked for a more determined, hard working student. There were times when she was concentrating so hard that she actually gave herself a headache.  Or maybe I gave her a headache.  Well, either way it was never easy, but I hope it was fun. Even though there were no doughnuts.

Today was our final lesson – graduation day. Once again she had the assignment of drawing her self portrait. It was scary on day one and still a bit nerve wracking on day eight. But now she was armed with an arsenal of skills and mental tools at her disposal. Sharon, if you are reading this I just want to say how proud I am of you.  Thanks for a great eight weeks. And now drum roll please!  You can see Sharon’s before self portrait above. Now take a look at her post instruction drawing. Well, I’m impressed!

So what do you think? Wouldn’t you like to learn to draw too? Hey wait a minute! Where are you going? I can’t run that fast!

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