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The Art of Teaching Art

by Stephanie Caruso about a year ago in art

A Picture Worth 1,000 Words

Sunset over Yosemite National Park

There are many photos that take your breath away. This happens to be one of them for me. Sometimes, it becomes impossible for a camera to see what you see. And sometimes, it becomes impossible for others to do the same. Just like a camera, we have our own lenses, our own points of view, and our own visions of what we hope others can capture by the photos we present.

The interesting thing about a single photo, is that it can a million different interpretations depending on who is looking.

Art is the leading cause of this beautiful pandemic. Art is a very empowering thing. You see, when I was in university studying to be a teacher, we had a class on the subject of art, and how to evaluate it, help to correct it, and how to moderate it. That’s the problem, art is subjective. Art is whatever you want it to be. Although it may end up on paper as a blob to some, or a bunch of squiggly lines that one may not understand, it solely comes down to the artist, and what that represents for that individual. Art is special, a powerful expression of human creativity and imagination.

My naive self once said, “why do children learn art in school? We should be teaching our youth about the importance of everyday life; how to do your taxes, and how to save money. What is so important that we have to teach kids how to draw pictures all day?” But I agree, I was wrong. I still feel strongly about teaching children the fundamental building blocks of real life skills. However, I was wrong with regards to the principles of art itself.

Jerry Saltz, an American art critic once said,

“The definition of art in some ways is to be able to embed thought and feeling in material.”

To say the least, art is an outlet for individuals to express themselves. Many of us share those feelings vocally, through our words. Sometimes those words may not be the kindest, but it is an expression of feelings and emotions that makes it possible to share yourself to others.

Art is an expression of emotion, creativity, and imagination.

Is emotion not a real life skill? Is creativity not a real life skill? The power alone of creativity is so important and necessary to our future. To be able to create and innovate, grow and overcome what we already know.

“I am not an artist.”

“I don’t know how to draw, or paint, or take pictures that people will enjoy.”

Until one day, I was able to change my opinion.

I was fortunate enough to watch Jim Carey’s documentary about his involvement in art called “I Needed Color” in 2017. Although we know him for his work as an actor, he has always been involved in art as a young child.

This documentary has allowed me to open my eyes to the wonders of the art world. Changing my ideas of myself from “I am not an artist” and “I don’t know how to draw, or paint, or take pictures that people will enjoy,” to “anyone can be an artist”.

“I think the greatest works of art in the world are examples of an artist's absolute presence touching the canvas.” - Jim Carey

The moment I captured this photo, in the beautiful Yosemite National Park in California. This was when I felt it. Felt the emotion, and the presence, that creative side coming out of me. Being able to even describe the sky is a skill in itself. To the point where you just can’t say anything except stare and decipher what this exactly means to you.

It was the process that had so much meaning behind it, allowing the opportunity to dive into my creative side that I didn't know existed.

How did I get to this exact moment in time? From all that was going wrong that day, my partner and I made it to watch this beautiful show displayed in the sky. Waiting patiently for the moment when the sun set over the valley to the point where it reflected in the clouds, to the mountain tops exposing its peaks for the world to see.

Clouds on Fire

So can you really teach art?

I believe the answer is no. Yes, you can guide, and help to develop ways to reach people's imagination, however, art is what you make of it and what it is you want people to see.

The process is such an important piece of all the works of art portrayed in this world. Trust the process. A very important mantra that I continuously repeat to myself over and over. The more we allow ourselves to be open, emotionally, and creatively, we create a deeper meaning of understanding and what it means to be you.

Art helps individuals to have an outlet of expression when words are just not enough. - Stephanie Caruso

Half Dome in the centre, Yosemite Falls just off to the right

Stephanie Caruso
Stephanie Caruso
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Stephanie Caruso
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