This is a guest post from my friend Mary Dooley, the Author of Expresso Yourself! Be inspired by this enchanting piece submitted for #CreativeMondays!
I teach art, several types to both adults and children.
I always start with a story. I know if I can hook them in the beginning with a story I will have them listening for the night. My biggest goal is to have everyone relax. Have fun. This is an easygoing class. One specific drawing class I PROMISE EVERYONE that walks IN the door will walk OUT an artist. Some laugh. That’s okay I will laugh later.
Okay keep that in the back of your mind.
As I start teaching my most recent adult class, the door opens and in walks a very old man with a very old lady in a wheelchair in tow. It takes a bit to get her situated and he says he will come back at the end of class. It’s awkward. I do not like awkward, getting back in the groove of the lesson takes me a bit. We move on.
I get into my witty repartee of which I am (in my own mind) famous for. I like to ask questions and I found out she worked as a hall/lunch lady in the local high school for all her working years. She never had the chance to take any art classes. YES, I apologized for any pain I may have caused any hall/lunch ladies during my school years.
Did I mention she was OLD (mid 80’s I’m guessing)? She has at least 35 years on me, which means she has at least 60 years on most of you. 60 YEARS!!! AND she has arthritis, AND shakes very badly AND has a patch over one eye.
We are all clear she signed up for a drawing class, at night, right?
We begin drawing and I am still trying to figure out how to put her at ease. I hear her sigh and I say, “getting old is so stinkin’ hard, isn’t it?” Immediately she relaxes, giggles and agrees. The other ten in the room start to relax also.
As I am walking the room I check on her and she is drawing!! Arthritis, eye patch and shaking. Is her work perfect? No. Is it art? You betcha. She kept drawing and I could tell the later it got the harder she struggled. But she kept drawing.
Okay now remember my promise?
After class I like to cut and run. Not this night. She wanted to stay after and chat about an idea she has for taking this type of drawing and making a large picture. Her husband comes back and looks at her work and tells me they have been married 67 years and he would do it all over again because now he can say he married an ARTIST.
She did leave an artist.
Who provided value to whom?