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Oct 22, 2019
For the last month, I had given myself permission NOT to paint, NOT to post on social media and NOT to teach. You know how life gets….in short, overwhelming. I needed a break in order to regain my sense of self, not to mention my sense of health!
Yet, last week, I taught a two-day workshop on No Fear Painting to eighteen women artists in another city, more importantly, women I didn’t know, and they didn’t know me. This workshop was the exception to my self-imposed hiatus because I had committed to it several months ago before life got in the way.
I’ve taught this class many times before as it’s my most popular topic: teaching students how to overcome their fear of change. They then translate the brainstorming techniques and process that they use in their paintings to creative problem solving in their own lives…kind of a psychology class entering through the back door of an art class.
The class turned out to be a wonderful kick-start to my re-entry into reality. I think I benefitted so much more than my students did, but of course (typical teacher trick), they were oblivious to my desperate need for their reactions.
There is nothing more rewarding for a teacher than an “I got it!” moment to appear on an eager face. So many times, it’s a moment to moment stepping-lightly amid the wonder of whether my words are sinking in. I begin. I’m on the edge of bombing, yet at the last second, eyes light up in front of me, and I know they “got” it.
After one of the sporadic demos during class, one lady lingered as her peers filed back to their tables. I turned to her expecting an extra question, but she just looked at me and chuckled.
I was new to them. They discovered my paintings online, realized I lived only an hour away and probably thought how convenient to have an art teacher this close. I was hired.
What they didn’t realize was that humor was part of the package. I can’t teach without humor. We must laugh, or the yawns of boredom win out. I wonder if there is a chemical reaction in the brain when someone laughs. Does it open a wider gulf for knowledge to seep in? Does laughter turn the brain into an eager sponge?
Even at six weeks old, babies are smiling to communicate in response to mom’s face or dad’s voice. At five months, the belly laughs begin! So how much more rewarding is it when a smile is met with a smile and a laugh is echoed? It’s contagious. It lowers our defenses. It helps us accept change. Bingo! Class goal accomplished.
By the end of the workshop, these eighteen women and I were one, joined by the sense of community that humor and art always nurture. We laughed, and we remember…such a warm lesson learned by this very grateful teacher.
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