Tuesday 30 October 2012

Musing. One day, I'll aim to be amusing.

Well, that was a very good surprise.  I went to a Nadfas special interest day today, which was really ... um ... interesting - excellent, in fact.  It was about drawing and painting, delivered by an artist and her art college lecturer husband - here is a link to her name.  She has a website too.

Her husband made the point that all children draw and paint, it's later that they become discouraged or self conscious and start to think that they are no good at it, but that actually anyone can draw.  He's right of course, you just put your lips together and blow ... no, you know what I mean.

I don't know how things are nowadays, but in my schooldays the only teachers who were actively discouraging, whether they meant to be or not, were art and games teachers.  That is, people who had a problem such as dyslexia could be called stupid or accused of not trying (that didn't happen in my school actually, but it's been reported by many) ... I suppose what I mean is that those were the teachers in whom favouritism was expected.  Games lessons were, on the whole, pretty well miserable for me.  At least I wasn't fat, but I was small, not fast (one might have thought I would have been, but I was always rubbish at running quickly and I wonder now if my malformed hip sockets are the reason for that, not that it matters), a bit short sighted and had a rubbish aim.  So, when the girls who were best at netball or whatever ghastly team sport - oh, that was the other thing, I had no team spirit and I wasn't assertive - were inevitably picked as team captain, I was always among the last three chosen to be on any particular team.  And I'm not a bad shot now, how was it I was never, ever given five minutes coaching at throwing a ball into a net?  Nor was I told to go off and practise until I got better?  Why was someone who was keen but not that good given the opportunity to be team captain for once?

And Art.  I disliked the Art teacher.  She was hearty, not discouraging but she scared and intimidated me, without in the least trying to of course.  I've nothing against her in truth, not as a person but she dismissed me early on as useless because I couldn't paint in the style she wanted, which was big and splashy.  I couldn't do it - not only was I desperately shy and inhibited and a whole big sheet of paper was far too big for me, I couldn't get any sense of proportion, of the size of things.  What I'd have liked was to have been taught drawing.  Painting ruined it, I only liked to draw, on a small sheet of paper.  I wish that had been allowed - actually, I really do.  I've just realised that, or possibly remembered it.  On the rare occasions I do draw or paint anything - actually try to, that is, it's usually a single flower or something like that.  There have been a few hands-on WI meetings when I've done that and, actually, I've not been entirely unhappy with the result.  I'm very limited in my ambition, but even that was discouraged when it might not have been.  I can't remember the teacher's name, but bad cess to her for making me hate Art lessons.

Ghislaine said that she paints a small picture, something from the news, every day - she started a few years ago as a year-long project and those paintings formed an exhibition, but she's kept it up - and I'm sort of tempted to draw something every day, but I doubt I will.  It'd be for myself only if I did, but I'll forget all about it, I expect.

Anyway, back to the good news.  I'm due to finish as Nadfas Area secretary after the next meeting in March, but I had no idea of whom to ask to take over from me.  And someone else on the committee has come up with a very nice woman called Celia who is quite keen.  Isn't that brilliant?  I've not been the greatest success in this position, to be honest - I underestimated the amount of work in the first place, or rather how I'd deal with it.  But I've done quite a bit of work on streamlining the job and simplifying it, and getting people to work with me helpfully (they're all lovely, but some of them were a bit bossy and rather forgot that I'm a volunteer as much as they are) and I think I'll be passing on something that works quite well.  That's been my aim this year in fact, not to hand on a tricky job.

And now, darlings, it's time to go and cook dinner.  I'm going to stuff some chicken breasts and serve them with ratatouille, French beans and the rest of the rice (cooked with lemon juice and turmeric and tossed with toasted mustard seeds) left over from last night.  


Roses said...

I hated sports with a passion. I was the last person chosen for team sports. I hated running. I hated team things and I had rubbish co-ordination.

When I was 13, I had to choose art or business streams. I chose business. So, I spent all my time hiding in the art class. Loved it. Can't draw for beans, but that didn't stop me.

Bill said...

Interesting points Z. I totally agree. I hated art at school simply because we were not taught how to do anything. We were simply told to "paint a horse" or some such without any guidance or help to achieve it. Those who were naturally gifted were OK, those who weren't, just fell by the wayside.
I took up art as an adult because I was interested to know if it could be taught - and the answer was yes, if the teacher is good, and now I paint and draw for enjoyment and curse my old school art teachers for being so dim and useless.

Z said...

Sorry, Roses, you chose business but went to art classes to avoid it? O...kay.

Good for you, Bill. That's the thing, they just coasted along with the people who were naturally gifted. No actual teaching at all.

kippy said...

Just yesterday a friend told me she used to love to paint very colorful abstracts, then took courses and the teacher insisted on painting subjects in her style. Friend now has no interest in painting, but I know she'd be good at it.

allotmentqueen said...

I found my ability in Art developed as I grew up. This might have had something to do with moving and therefore changing school after the 3rd secondary school year. Somehow I managed to persuade my new school that I could do the subjects I actually wanted (like being allowed to do Needlework even though I was in the top set).

I actually chose to do Art 'A' Level even though I hadn't done the 'O' Level and I persuaded the school that I would do the 'O' Level at the end of the first year Sixth, but when it came to it we decided it wasn't worth the bother so I just did the 'A' Level. I got a B, so it was worth doing.

I think, as with so many things, it's not the subject, it's the teacher.

mig said...

Join you at the end of the line Z. I was always one of the last three to be picked. Once I hit a rounders ball and the whole team fell apart in amazement. And we lost the point or whatever it was so they weren't even pleased with me.
Art - now that was another thing. I was one of the teachers' favourites but on the other hand I remember being taught quite usefully so I think I was lucky with my teachers. And now I think about it my mother taught me quite a lot too. Unfair advantage.

Blue Witch said...

Sorry, can't empathise today... I was great at sport (selected for U15 England squad for hurdles, would probably have made the Olympics had I not had a series of injuries - some of them exaggerated as training was taking me away from academia, which I preferred), and at art (although I wasn't allowed to do art 'O' as, 'Girls who are good academically don't need to do art.') Oh yes they do, as I found out much later.

Roses said...

I was trying to be sensible. You can see that the pattern started early.

I tried to take courses that would stand me in good stead. I hated them. Hated them all.

So, instead of swapping streams like any sane person would. I just hid in the art classes where I was really happy. I read tons of Mills and Boon.

I wish my parents would have guided me better. I wish I'd what I know now, back then. But, I can't complain too much. Life is all good here.

Z said...

The teacher counts for so much. I was very unlucky in my school on the whole - though quite happy there.

BW, out of interest, what was the attitude of those who were good at sport to those who weren't?

Unknown said...

I was naturally arty. I took after my Dads' Dad. My Mum was good too, but my Dad is crap! Strange!

Z said...

My mother was good at drawing, delicate watercolours were her thing. She never encouraged me to try it, funnily enough. Reading was all we were really encouraged to do, thinking about it, when Wink and I were little.