What I didn't realize, of course, was that she needed someone to give a 50 minute talk, so this would be no ordinary show up and answer a few art questions/mingle thing. I actually had to share a picture of my art journey as a presentation and that at first gave me great pause, cake or not. The teacher in me had no problem talking to groups, in fact, I missed that experience quite a bit, but that was sharing information about academic topics, not about me, my art, my beliefs, my story, and the personal nature of this was daunting.....at first.
As I began to ponder what I would talk about, what these students needed to hear, and what part of my journey I would NOT talk about I realized I needed to know where it got started, my art path that is, and built it from there. Luckily, being the collector and pack rat that I am, I was able to dig up some art samples as far back as third grade, and proceeded to create a movie about how my art developed from childhood and eventually led to a full time art career. The walk down memory lane was beautiful and priceless, and I quickly learned that this experience was as much for my benefit as it was for those students or MEK, and I was grateful.
Now, if you have ever been asked to give a presentation then you know things don't always go as planned, and this day was no different. There was a hibernation issue with the computer, a once in a blue moon fire alarm, and a rather warm upstairs. But, we just rolled with the punches and despite the interruptions, I felt it went pretty well.
The students at Bishop reminded me so much of some of the students I had taught at younger ages. They were from all walks of life, some challenging more than others, but they seemed attentive and engaged in what I had to share. I chose to present my journey as one from a person who, despite life throwing me medical and emotional curves, made the best of what I was given. I knew I was an imaginative, creative child, but I was no art prodigy. I simply took the gift of creativity, and after going on disability, used it well, and am proud of that.
After the presentation I went to lunch with MEK and we were able to get to know each other a bit better, which was another high lite of my day. Mary is studying for her PhD and by the way her students responded to her, I believe she is already a master educator, let alone artist. Her collages are bright, beautifully colored, but layered with meaning and background around a theme she is studying. It was her artwork that drew me to her on FB, and I am thankful that her artwork has now led to a friendship. I am surrounded by wonderful artists in my life and feel that is one way God shows me favor. They are some of the most intelligent, creative, and loving beings I know, and I am honored to know so many. After sharing with MEK's class, I said a little thank you prayer to the big guy upstairs.
To me, art inspires all of us one way or the other, and I was able to inspire a few new folks with my simple story of being a creative, passionate person. I felt right at home that day, surrounded by students, by a fellow artist, by crazy interruptions, but most of all, by a common belief that art and life are beautiful and meant to be shared. That to me is the icing on top of the cake~!
MEK writes a blog where she shares her vast knowledge of art history, love of family, and beautiful artwork with the world. I encourage you to stop by and check it out.
Here is one of her latest pieces of artwork as well:
And, here is the link to the movie I created and shared with her students. It's 18 minutes long, filled with relaxing, peaceful music and some interesting art, so I hope some of you will spend some time checking it out and let me know what you think.
Peace Friends, Ardith