Monday, February 6, 2012

Sometimes I Can Hear

Robert Motherwell

"Sometimes I can hear the audience breathing."
Michel Camilo

     In Thornton Wilder's classic play, Our Town, the Stage Manager looks into the audience and says, "There are things we all know, but we don't take them out and look at them very often." Our lives are filled with distractions, with voices crying for attention. We need silence. Yesterday was the Sabbath, a day of rest, a day of silence. It is on the Sabbath that I 'take things out and look at them', and in the silence, sometimes I can hear.
     I am a teacher who paints (as opposed to a painter who teaches, but that is another discussion). Yesterday I considered my calling; my goals as a teacher and artist. As usual, my questions led to more questions until I arrived at this fork in the road-
Is the goal of what I am currently working on to improve a skill?
i.e., to be better?
Is the goal of what I am currently working on to be recognized?
i.e., to be better known?

     Recently my Dean of Students suggested having an exhibit of student work for Family Night. As I looked at the syllabus, I realized the goal of the current lessons leaned toward improving skill. I wondered, 'will the result of these lessons be show-worthy?' Working with materials can be messy. Sometimes progress is slow. But, as Babe Ruth said, "Never let the fear of striking out get in your way." So, I took a second look at the fork and found solutions. It will be a good exhibit. 

The Artist's View
photo by Samuel Carter

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