You know that feeling, perhaps, when you have the blank sheet in front of you and can’t think of what to do? I’m not suffering from writer’s block. I’ve a list of possible areas for blog writing on a stickynote on my computer, but perhaps lack time to be able to focus totally on all of them.
No. what I have is what I will describe as “artist’s block” and that term I am perhaps abusing slightly, but it encapsulates where I am with regard to my #teacher5aday pledge. You see, I’ve been looking for inspiration as a first step, before getting everything out. I’ve gone through my photograph collection, going back several years for images that might grab attention. Many of these are of the more “artistic” type, taken with the idea of perhaps of making a painting at some stage. I have to say that a few came close, but, if I am completely honest, it might be a matter of confidence, in that I have, at some stage, to make marks on a pristine sheet of paper and they may not “be right”; once made, it can be hard to paint over an error.
Yet, as educators, we talk of “growth mindset” and learning from error.
Really, though, you’ve got to visualise the idea first and a have a strategy for taking that idea forward to some kind of imagined end point; a similar situation to story-telling, orally or in writing. That puts me in a similar position to many children in the classroom, who may want to do something, but lack ideas to take forward into the project.
What I might have to do is something that the course organiser said to me yesterday about a colleague of hers, when she was working in FE. His first act as a teacher of art, with a new group of students arriving with pristine sketch books, was to get them all to buy a cup of tea or coffee to bring to the first session. After they’d all settled, expecting the words of wisdom, he got the students to put the sketch books on the floor and to pour the drink over the books, so that they were no longer absolutely pristine and they would forever think that making art could, at times, be a little messy.
My second half challenge, therefore, is to start with the mess and work this out. I may not make a Picasso, but I do want to find the relaxation that concentration on working with paint can produce.
This weekend, I will find the images to build into an art form. I wonder what blocks others are facing?
I suppose, though, It has given me something to think about and write about. Some gain?