At the end of my workshop last week, one of the attendees presented me with a painting she had completed during the second day. She even titled it for me! Called Ecuador In My Heart it reflects many of the elements- the cities and villages, the sea, the mountains and the trees and flowers– of the native landscape of Ecuador-born artist Paulina Garces Reid. I love this little painting, the way in which the blocks come together to tell their story and the manner in which Paulina modulated her colors, which she pointed out are the colors of Ecuador, with dark glazes.
I was moved by her sharing this painting with me and amazed how far she, like all of the students, had progressed in such a short time. I explained that she was at a point with my technique that had taken me months and hundreds, maybe thousands, of hours to reach. Looking around the room, I could see on every table something that I know I could easily find in my bin of my own early experiments. I saw one specific experiment of mine (shown here) in Paulina’s piece, one that hadn’t reached as far as she had in just a handful of hours.
These students had shot past my own learning curve, had easily grasped concepts and processes that took me a long time to develop and master. Going into this, I didn’t know what to expect as to what I might see from these students or how I might feel at the end. I do know that after the first day I had absolutely no expectations and couldn’t see myself doing this again. But that second day changed everything. Like the students, I had my own learning curve to conquer and seeing the work from Paulina and the others made me feel that it was something I could quickly get past to make my teaching more effective if there is a future opportunity to do this.
And I guess that’s the thing I take from this. It established a starting point from where my learning curve began and I can see progress along that curve. And like the students, it’s exciting to see progress in any endeavor. So, I may teach again not just for the thrill of seeing others being excited by the work they produce as a result but for my own excitement in learning how to better deal with people, how to better communicate my own experience to them. Like y paintings, it all comes down to communication…
Thank you again, Paulina, for the beautiful gift. I will hang it with pride in my studio.