On Monday, I had the privilege of leading a workshop for a group of children in NE DC. One of the funniest moments came after instructor Erika Bowman presented the group with a slide show of my urban portrait project, AS IS, and opened the floor up for questions. One child asked me how I found inspiration, another wondered if I had a favorite color that I used in my work. Then one little girl eagerly shot her hand into the air. "Do you like chocolate?!"
Can I just tell you how deeply I admire the teachers of the world? Especially art teachers. With the slashing of art education programs across the country, and the often inadequate compensation that teachers receive, it is a wonder that there are still so many quality people going into the profession.
Though, while I have absolute respect for these noble individuals, I myself sadly seem to be missing the gift for teaching. When Erika contacted me about leading this workshop, I was torn between the knowledge that I am no teacher, and remembering how thirstily I had soaked up the visit of a working artist to my own elementary school. Ultimately, I agreed to lead the program.
Flash forward to Monday-- There I am absolutely melting/panicking as one child tears-up in frustration over her own portrait. "But YOUR paintings are so much prettier" she trembles. I try to no avail to explain how much easier oil paints make painting the details of a face. Then, in a last ditch effort, I tell her how proud I am of her work and gave her one of the dried paint palettes that I have brought along as a teaching aid.
As I leave for the day, the little girl asks me how to spell my name. Beaming, sharpie clutched in her fist, she flips the palette over and scrawls
"july 22 2013 given to me by real artist nicole bourgea"