Friday, September 12, 2008
Lots of Bluster
Painting during a Nor'easter at Cape Neddick Point.
With the title of this post, you may think I'm referring to the current season of hurricanes, or perhaps even the political campaigns with which we are also being assaulted. But, no - no cleverness today. Turns out there are more readers of this blog than I realized (according to view counts), and because this is a public venue, I went through all my windy posts to make sure there was nothing too incriminating - about me or anyone else.
In all my long-windedness, I found nothing, save one niggling issue. Again and again, my candor about my art education always finds its way back to those who participated in it. As elliptical as I could be about things - such as names, for instance - my commentary still seems irksome to some, as if my intent is to offend and denigrate. Were that the case, I would try and do that to its fullest, Peter Schjeldahl-style.
But in all seriousness, for all the world to read, let me be clear on this: I absolutely value and appreciate all my teachers did for me. I would probably not have a career in art were it not for them. If you read the 3rd and 4th paragraphs of this post, I think it is understood that any shortcomings or stumbling blocks that I'd had after graduating were of my own making, due to my youthful naïveté. I readily admit to needing direction at that time, and I didn't seek it out as earnestly as I sought painting instruction. It was too much to hope, too expectant, to have someone come to my rescue. It would have been nice, but I have found through the years, that that kind of fortune rarely falls in my direction. And anyway, the ease of "nice" quite often does not yield anything of constructive value. It was D.I.Y. for me from then 'til now, and I believe that was the best way to form my artistic persona.
One corollary to all this: I taught at the BFA level, too, and I understand that as much as you can give to a student, it will never be all they need. It's impossible to provide that. However, it is one's duty to relay that very reality to the student because, at that point in their young lives, what you have projected upon them is all they know. The intangibles that the mentor carries are totally outside the realm of experience - as well as the understanding - of the novitiate. Just an insight into the fact that these intangibles exist and are essential for growth is enough direction for the otherwise hapless neophyte.