I’d like to start by saying that there are messages in this post. I’m not sure how to make sure that all those messages get lined up all nice and tidy. SO I’m going to do my best, but I think that I’m also going to let them come to you… because I think that some of the messages I know are here…
I think that I don’t know WHERE they are…
I think that I don’t know WHO they are for…
I do know they are there… and there is someone I’d like you to meet. So I’m diving. And letting the messages carry this post.
The internet has opened a world of doors for me. When we began our move here to the coast in 2006 I started this blog. Originally, it was created to share our family goings on with family that no longer lived close by. I never dreamed about the things that this world would bring. One of those things has been the art of others. Art that inspired, and art that made me want to grow. As a mother and teacher, I began feeling a call to start teaching art to kids. To make an impact on kids with a style of teaching that wasn’t like the teaching available in schools. I knew I wanted to start, but I wasn’t sure where or how.
As I was hopping from blog to blog one day, and exploring links of bloggers I enjoyed, I came upon a woman’s YouTube video.
I knew at once that her class was for me. I knew it with all my heart. So I took it. I was inspired by it. I was inspired to teach and share art. To encourage it. To help others see themselves as artists. I’m still working on how I will start classes, but in my process to getting there, I have discovered that it might not only be kids who need a new kind of art. A new kind of direction. A new inspiration. I think there are a lot of grown ups who need to hear it too. I’ve said it before. It is up to YOU to believe in yourself. I also think it’s time for grown ups to help children believe in a way that they will KEEP believing. So that moment, whenever it is, when kids buy into the idea that they have to be “good enough” never happens.
I recently asked this teacher. THE mermaid warrior to talk to me a little bit about art and what she’s doing to help kids (and some grown ups too) find the strength to believe. Please let me introduce Mccabe Russell. (pronounced Mc BABE and you know that’s what I always say in my head when I read her name…) To help the interview read more easily, I’ve made my part of the conversation BLUE and McBabe’s is PINK.
About a year ago, things in my life fell into place, and suddenly I knew that I wanted to help kids keep art in their hearts. I wanted to teach them in a way that let THEM be the boss of their art. I wanted to help them understand that while coloring in the lines is nice, and knowing how to draw perspective is handy, in the end, a blue turkey and pink grass are OK too. That sometimes, it’s not about the lines, it’s about scribbling with wild abandon. At about this time I found out about you. I watched this video, and I wrote THIS post on my blog.
thank you, rachel!!!!
No, thank YOU!! Can you tell me about the events/things that put you in that place? The place where you knew you wanted to reach out to kids with art?
i think it is something i have always known. however, an action needs to follow a dream. my dream took flight when i felt done doing the things that were unrelated to my goals… when i was ready to take a real risk.
I totally agree!! Action is something we all forget about sometimes. Can you share what your FIRST step of action was? Did you quit a job? Are you still working a “real” job while pursuing this on the side?
my first step of action was making the decision to teach art camps over the summer.
i had to leave another job to do so because i could not do both. i do not presently work for anyone else-although i do photography, videography, and sell my art online to balance things out.
So many adults buy into the idea that when kids create, it’s CRAFTING and not art. Then there are those kids who do believe that they are artists. Yet somewhere along the road, they lose their belief and they grow into adults who think their art isn’t important.
this is true! i think the way adults react to childrens art is a direct projection of their own feelings about creativity and what that means. there is nothing wrong with the term “crafting” unless it is used in a negative way- “well i am/you are not a REAL artist it is just crafting…” what is that about? who are these judges that say this is art and this is a craft? and why does it matter?
Do you have any tips for nurturing that in ourselves as adults? What about for kids?
i have the same rules for adults as for kids:
don’t compare your art to your neighbors.
think of art as a source of joy and let everything come from that.
accept that we all make crappy art from time to time and thats ok.
thank you rachel!
i tell adults that their art matters.
Do you ever need to remind your self of the things that you teach your kids?
um, yeah, everyday!
Can you give me an example of two things you do to remind yourself that YOU are art?
i try to remind myself that i am an artist because it is who i am, not what i do.
a disconnect occurs when i buy into it because i don’t truly believe that we should measure our art/success against others. everyone is an artist in their own right. when those beliefs are in discord with my thoughts, i become extremely ungrounded.
What is one of the most rewarding moments you’ve experienced as a teacher of art?
too many to mention! i do love it when kids tell me that they feel like they can be their “true selves” with me. i also love to see kids just letting go and getting excited about their work!! nothing could make me smile more.
I’m so ready for that!! Helping others be their “true selves”! How did you get started?
in teaching? i worked in several schools and worked with kids my whole life. i always did art with kids…i finally figured out it might be a good idea to start charging people for it so i could do it all the time.
One of my biggest inspirations was reading a book called Stopping at Every Lemonade Stand by James Vollbracht. It’s about creating community by giving kids attention and respect. It changed my life and my perspective. Do you have any books or authors who have inspired you toward working with kids in the way you do?
absolutely! sark and sabrina ward harrison set me on the right path…..and then many books and authors were soon to follow. i also love and adore francesca lia block. (her book dangerous angels is my all time fav) like sark and sabrina, she spoke a language i understood. when you feel understood, you feel less alone. when you feel less alone, you feel connected. and when you feel connected and in harmony with the world-magic happens.
I’m so happy not only to be getting to know you better, but to be sharing with others about the importance of art in our lives.
As I mentioned at the start of all this, I’m not sure where all the messages are in this interview… I know they are there, and I know how inspired I am by Mccabe and the things she shares here on line. When I found McCabe on line, she was teaching a class about teaching girls and art. She’s teaching that class again, and you can sign up to take it HERE!! I also encourage you to visit her on her blog DANCING MERMAID. Remember that YOU are the root of your creativity!! Be brave!! Embrace it. And when you have the chance to share creativity with a child, TAKE IT!!
All photos in this post are used with permission from McCabe Russell. and I LOVE them.