We’re delighted to publish Mel Harrison’s latest article to her Column, APPart. This time Mel laments her art education but questions the style of art teaching and why it can either inhibit or encourage your natural creativity. A great piece to ponder, over to you Mel. (Foreword by Joanne Carter).
“My New Years resolution was to start contributing to my column here at The App whisperer on a regular basis.
I opened this document in the Pages App and stared at it for a long time. I was getting a bit terse with myself because writing and art is something that usually comes freely to me. Then I realised I have to just let it flow. I am never going to be an artist that will work well with consignment work. For me art is a roller coaster I have to be in the mood to ride, ready to take the ups and downs, the thrill of the ride. I sit back at the end looking at the work and often my thoughts are wow! Where did that come from?
Staring at this blank document I was taken back to my high school art class experience. I changed schools half way through an important year. My old school had an art program that was free, expressive and suited me completely. It is truly where my love of art evolved.
My new school was a different kettle of fish. I walked into the new classroom and was greeted by a stern looking woman asking me who I was and why I was there. She declared I couldn’t just ‘join’ her class ‘was I good enough?’
That day I had new emotion associated with art, FEAR. Fear and all it’s associated feelings if self doubt. I was sat at a desk and asked to draw what I saw in the corner. I sketched in detail the mop and bucket, the broom and paint tin. I added as much detail to the drawing as I could. The scale was out I knew it, and I was worried! I had never before been ‘worried’ by art. The teacher gave it nothing but a cursory glance and told me to sit with the rest of the class.
Art in her class was a formula. Plans had to be made before starting a project. Sketches done, methodology written down.
I longed for the free and expressive art curriculum of my old school. Where it was never questioned if I was good enough and where my creativity blossomed before it’s wings were clipped.
Needless to say I didn’t go on to study art at a higher level.
What was your art education like? Did it encourage your or discourage you? Did you go on to study at a tertiary level?”