“What’s something easy?” My partner Simone looks at me during class as my professor announces the lesson we need to teach in a few weeks. I slump a little in my chair, feeling uninspired. “Um, I don’t know…maybe some kind of collage?”
Truth is, when it came to teaching an art lesson to 3-5 year old’s I had no idea what was in their range of understanding. We suggested tracing their hands and making leaves- “Too Cliche”. We suggested making a fall tree- “Too prescribed”.
Finally, we decided on a collage with tissue paper. Layering the paper makes “Color Magic”, as my professor calls it, when two colors combine to create a new color. Basically it’s an easy way to make something look really colorful and great even if the kids are terrible at it.
It was then that the internet saved us, because we found a site that talked about creating tissue paper collages on windows. It’s so easy. All you need to do is get some liquid starch (made with corn starch and hot water), paint the starch on the window and apply the tissue paper.
I’m hoping it goes well with the kids this Wednesday, but even if it doesn’t, my apartment windows are looking pretty good.
Liquid Starch Recipe Here
I stop in the bathroom to wash my hands, catching a glimpse of myself in the mirror. The smudge of charcoal on my forehead has probably been there for at least two hours, since I’ve been in the studio for the last three. I smile at how typical it is and rub it off with a paper towel.
Out in the hallway, on the way to my locker, I look at the critique going on. They’re putting up work for the first time this semester, and I silently judge the quality and composition of the paintings just hung. Then I happily drop off my portfolio in my locker, glad to lighten the load before the walk back to my apartment. I stop in the back of the art building to visit some friends in the wood shop, all of them covered in sawdust that they throw on me while they show off the progress of their work.
I can’t believe this has become normal. It’s never where I expected to be, but now I can’t imagine anything different. Or anything I could love more.
Amidst all the overwhelming stress, challenge, and competition I’ve experienced in becoming an art student, there are moments of total joy like nothing else. Even the moments during critiques when I want to cry, when I cut my finger for the fourth time of the day on an X-Acto knife, when I just can’t get the perspective right on a drawing- It is completely worth it. Through it, I’m being refined.
Out of my three studio classes this semester, Life Drawing has been my favorite so far. Here’s a few, more to come. They’re not perfect, but neither am I. What matters is I’m growing daily, and surrounded by more inspiration than I know what to do with. And because of that I couldn’t be happier.