Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Thank you, Mr. Winkler.

Today I was playing with art. Since I'm an artist by trade, it might seem odd to say I was playing with art....but all you creative types must know what I mean. Sometimes you get so involved in trying to make everything perfect, that you don't allow yourself to play at all. I see on blogs definitely two types of is the type that takes themselves way too seriously, and the other is the type that does nothing but play. For me, I have to find some sort of balance in between those two. Of course, this is somewhat of an exaggeration...but it does, somedays, seem to be that way. Since I've been working on pieces for my solo show coming up in October (at Garden City Community College in Garden City, Ks. if any of you happen to be in the area...) ;) I have been stressing and doing the way too serious thing. So today (well it kinda started last night) I "forced" myself to quit thinking so much, and just do. For some reason I always seem to get to this happy place when I play with tissue paper. I think I've been fascinated w/ tissue paper since I was a young girl and my sister brought home some tissue paper flowers that her class had made in school. I have still never learned how to make those things, and every now and then run across them and I still want to know how to make them! Anyway, I had played with some watercolor last night...something else I don't do much of anymore is watercolor...and today went back to it and started messing with some tissue paper. When I'm done with it, I'll post it's drying right now though. So while I was playing with bright colored tissue paper and watercolors I had this realization. I realized that Mr. Winkler, my fifth grade teacher, is really the person responsible for my becoming an artist. Not only was he the kind of teacher who told you constantly that you could grow up to be whatever you wanted to be, he was also the only teacher I ever had that actively encouraged his students to be creative. And to read. He ended up becoming the librarian at my grade school, and remained so until he retired. His class was by far the most unstructured class I ever had. It was the luck of the draw that I got into that class. He had an old upright piano in his room that we were all allowed to play on freely during free times. We had free times. Looking back I have this sinking feeling that they don't let teachers behave the way he did anymore... We had extended reading times right after lunch recess where he would read to us while we sat and drew or painted whatever we wanted. He supplied endless amounts of paper. I remember he loved "The Hobbit" so much that he read it to us three different times throughout the school year. It was terribly easy to talk him into an extra chapter each day. He was singular. While all the other teachers I had seem to sort of run into each other in my memory, in terms of the way they taught, Mr Winkler was an anomoly. Truly one of a kind. There was never a bad day in that class. He had sparkly eyes, and white blonde hair, and he showed Siamese cats on the weekend's and always provided his old trophy's to us as "rewards" for mini contests for poetry, etc. Everyone got one. Everyone felt special. I wonder if he is still alive? I'll have to find out... I truly don't think I would have become an artist without his allowing me to play with art every day. Sixth grade was fun, but it was kind of a disappointment.... Mr. Anderson taught me everything I know about division and fractions. ;)

1 comment:

David Howard said...

It's funny how childhood stuff somehow follows us through life and frames our lives. I remember having a drawing put under the Headmasters glass on his office desk - it still means something in some way. I suppose art like music is meant to be enjoyable - but like your suggesting, the work, skill and philosophical elements need feeding as well.