Wednesday, 24 June 2015

Classroom Psychology part II - Positive Thinking :)

Hi there my lovely ones!
I'd like to talk to you a bit about teaching and learning interaction - again. You can find my first post with my random thoughts here, if you wish.

There are some projects which you are really happy with. At least there should be some!
Depending on the level of our self-criticism, confidence and ability to simply "let go" it may happen quite often or very rarely. And as I see, watching all the wonderful people coming to my classes - struggling to make a "pretty" project may be sometimes one element too much in the whole learning process. Trying too hard to perform instead of absorbing as much as possible, trying, playing and experimenting... is there a point it that?

With all my consciousness and responsibility I can say - it is really unusual for me to really "like" any project I've made during my teaching process. I don't get upset with that at all - I know these are my "samples", very helpful to explain the steps and techniques to my students and by all means - it is far more important for me to help my students and focus on their needs than making something that I will be happy with!
I always tell people in my classroom that "masterpieces are made at home in their own, safe studios". And that also applies to me. My best projects happen when I'm focused, emotionally conscious and working in my safe environment.
So why expect the most amazing project of your life will happen in the crowded room, where you are surrounded by other people, working with unfamiliar tools or mediums and very often you are pushed in the uncomfortable time slots? Doesn't it sound like too much pressure in one time?
I guess it does!

Let's look at the example:
Here is the sample I made last weekend - during the last class of the day and even if it is far from perfection and it can be called "old boring composition" I can still be happy about it.

First of all -  it was an important part of the teaching process, allowing me show all the textures, elements, techniques step-by-step. I always like to think that creating in front of the students gives them more will to try and play and confidence it is not that hard at all. (Because it is not, really).
What is more - I had great time creating it, working with great, fun group of wonderful women!
So, where are the other  positive aspects of this project?

Yes I've got tons of similar ones already. Some of them more nice, some of them - not that much.
I've made this class so many times before... but this time I was really pleased with the colour palette I've chosen. With the stamping I did during the demo. And what is the most important - pencil doodling and scribbling gave me ideas for a new project! Perfect!

Demo of the photo painting wasn't bad too. In general - successful class with a lot of beautiful collages created by enthusiastic, talented people!

Now please - think  - is it possible to try to be a bit more kind to yourself ? Not looking for all possible "mistakes" you've made? Not thinking about all the disappointing little bits... and be proud of you have done instead?
Just look at those beauties below:

(projects made by students in Newbridge, Ireland)

I don't know how many times I was trying to convince my students that class is not a "beauty contest" and comparing your work with projects of other students or teacher is like comparing beauty of roses and peonies (or any other kind of flowers). We all come from the different background, we have different skills, taste and preferences. Comparing with others in this perspective sounds totally crazy, right?

I think real value of taking a class is trying new things, pushing yourself a bit out of your comfort zone, being brave, open-minded and experimenting to see which new ideas or techniques you'd like to use in the future. Thinking about possibilities, getting inspired or simply - relaxing and playing in the friendly atmosphere. In the end - these are all pieces of paper, fabric, metal and ugly buttons...
These are the things I'd like my students to focus on - and as far as I can see it works really well!

I hope you all can have a look at your work now and find "positive aspect" in it - I'm sure there are tons of them in each of the pieces you've made.
Sometimes I think we all forget it is important to be kind to ourselves, and the reason we paint, glue, stamp or tear the paper is because it is our passion and way to relax. Taking a class should be helping you to spread your wings - so lease remember to let yourself play, breathe and have creative fun!

I wish I could make sure you all will feel comfortable with what you do... so maybe it is ok to think that enjoying the process is far more important than the final product of it? Hm?

Sending some love in your direction

P.S. If you are interested in this particular class - "Overemotional" you can try to book your seats here:
- Love is in the Details - Manitoba - Canada
- Artsy Stamps and Crafts - Colorado - USA
- The Paper Boutique - Illinois - USA
- Whim So Doodle - Florida - USA

Or check my full schedule here - maybe I'm somewhere nearby this year?


LucianaW said...

Espetacular! great class!!!! congrats!

Dots Dabbles said...

You have said this so well. It should always be about the fun that you get from the creativity...and sometimes learning what it is that you actually do like to do can be the most difficult when you are watching what others are doing.
Dot x

Танюша said...

Очень красивые работы!!! Мечтаю попасть к тебе на МК

smokeysmom said...

So true, Finn. Often times we forget (as artists) WHY we are taking a class. We become competitive with the other students as well as trying to impress the instructor instead of just relaxing and enjoying the process. Thank you for posting this important message :)

Kathy Bradley said...

Wow - it looks like everyone created a beautiful project in your class. I am signed up for the Springfield, Illinois class and I am crossing off the days - I can't wait!

Barbara Rankin said...

I agree with you completely, but it never hurts to remind us because in class, we are learning, and may not always make a masterpiece. I never really do well in classroom situations, and I am really critical of what I am doing because others are looking/judging, but I have to keep telling myself that I AM learning. Thanks for reiterating that point.

LISA said...

Oh Anna!!!! Can't wait to see you at WhimSoDoodle!!!!!xo

Helen said...

Totally agree, Finn.. and your whole class produced some beautiful work!

Belinda Basson said...

I too am an art teacher and see what you are talking about here every day! What I say to my students who expect to get it perfect first time is that when they learned to drive a car it took time. You were not born able to drive a car and when you started it took a lot of concentration and making mistakes...stalling the car, going slowly, parking badly, and having to think about the steering, clutch, gears, break and speed all at once. Then a few years down the line you can drive without thinking about those things and plan your day... like what's for dinner etc. You are not even always aware of if the traffic light was red or green, but you got to your destination in the end safely. Art is the same. It takes time to learn. It takes nurturing before it gets to be a "natural" thing that comes without too much effort or thinking. Art is not something taught at high school here unless you choose it as a subject. Most adults last picked up paint etc when they were age 10 or 12 and expect to be masters when they pick it up again 20 or 30 years later just cos they are now adults... being an adult is the problem I have concluded. Kids expect to make mistakes, it is part of the learning process. Adults forget this part of life! I cant wait to learn from you in project is going to be the biggest experiment EVER! You totally ROCK!

Linda said...

Finnabair, you are so right on! I have often felt inadequate in classes that I have taken. I took one of your classes at Scrapbook Centrale near Montreal, Canada and I remember you saying that it was only paint and paper and that if we really didn't like what we had done, we could just throw it away and start a new one. That freed me to risk myself more in my projects. I don't have to be perfect. And often there are happy mistakes. I hope I will be able to take another class from you in the not too distant future.

PocketSize said...

That's a wonderful post. As students, I think we do tend to feel pressure to make something just like the instructor's, because otherwise we feel like we didn't learn the lesson well enough. But you're right, mostly everyone tends to work best in their own space with their own stuff. It's good to get outside of that comfort zone every now and then, though, because otherwise we don't learn or evolve.

Caty said...

All your artworks are gorgeous!!! Really great classes!! So beautiful! Big hugs.

Grá O'Neill said...

Fabulous class & my first time working with canvas. You created a great environment to try something new, out of my comfort zone! Thanks :)

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