This post was inspired by this post – Free Write Friday: Doodling is taking me places… – written by Trudie over at My Vintage Childhood – The photos are of art that I have done myself, and also of the current state of my art room.
I was surprised on a quick search of my blog that I have never told the full story of my getting kicked out of art class in year 9. To tell the story I have to go back a little bit further, to primary school.
When I was little, my parents quickly learned not to give me colouring books with things on the pages, because I would get deeply upset when I could not keep my colouring within the lines on the page. As I got older, I discovered that while I could imagine amazing things in my head, they could not be transmitted via my brain, down my arm, through my hand and fingers onto the paper. I could not draw.
Oh sure, I could make a stick figure, and some rudimentary shapes, but to draw what was in my head was totally impossible for me. This was incredibly frustrating. And yet, we had to do art as a subject in school. There was no choice. I loved paint, I loved colour, I was really good at collage and things like making jewellery, glitter balls, sequin art, gluing things to canvas, things like that. I just could not draw, not at all. Much of the time I was allowed to do my own thing rather than trying to draw things, once the teachers learned how frustrated and angry I would get.
Until year 9 in high school, that is. I had a teacher who believed that everyone could draw to a very high standard, if they tried hard enough. She pushed me to draw. And she pushed me. And she just kept on pushing until I snapped.
I forget what actually ended up happening. I forget what the exact breaking point was, or what I did – I’m guessing I tore up my paper, and possibly any other paper I could get my hands on, out of sheer frustration. I’m guessing there was crying, screaming and yelling.. I think I’ve buried what happened so deep inside that it will never be unburied even if I wanted it to be.
What I do remember is the teacher snapped. She told me I was hopeless at art. That was the one thing she said nobody could be! She’d stood there in front of the class at the start of the year and told us, we all have an artist inside, some people just have to work harder than others to let them out. This fact was not news to me – I knew I couldn’t draw, and I’d told her that from the get-go.
Over the years in my art classes, I had found that art did not have to = drawing. I could do some amazing things with paint. It just did not resemble anything else. I said I would prefer not to draw and I would like to be allowed to do my own thing as in past years with other teachers. She said drawing was an important part of the course and because I would not do it, she told me that she was sending me to T2.
Funny, how t2 is now a store most people would love to be sent to. Back in those days, it meant detention. Every time I was supposed to go to art class, I would have to go to t2 detention instead. You had to work on something from your class there, but not painting or gluing or any of the cool things. I was limited to drawing. Yeah, right, like I was going to do that!
What I would do, each lesson, I would get all my colour pencils out of my pencil case. I would sort them into order – they each had a name and a number. I would sharpen them all. Then I would draw small boxes, colour them in, write the name of the pencil and the number next to the box. I did this for nearly 6 months of year 9. Finally art was over, and another class took the place of art on my schedule. THANK GOD. I was so bored, and there wasn’t much left of those pencils.
Of course if someone tells you that you are no good at something, you really don’t want to be involved with that thing anymore. Year 9 was the last year art was a “forced” subject, and in year 10 I did not choose to do art as a subject. I also put away my colour pencils for good. I completely stopped any form of art for over 10 years, until I was a bit older and wiser, and I tried a ceramics class, which led back to painting.
As the years have gone by, I have found ways to be an artist without needing to be able to draw. There are loads of stencils you can print out. You can use stamps. Dot art is another great way to make art without needing to be able to draw. Things like ceramics and pottery can be hugely therapeutic without having to be able to draw. And if you want to do your own thing on a canvas, you can just play with colour until you like what you see.
With Adult Colouring In becoming a thing, I have finally got my coloured pencils back out again. Adult colouring in books can be pretty expensive but never fear here are some great free printables to get you started – Color pages for Mom – Free colouring pages for adults. I am now able to keep my colouring within the lines, which makes it a relaxing and fun activity for me.
One of the first things I needed to do was to make a colour chart. That is something I have had a lot of experience with, lol. :) Though it has been a while and I made a mistake, so I’ll probably end up making another one. Sadly though these colour pencils do not have names on them, so I improvised and made some sticky labels, and my own names.
Over to You –
Are you into the new Adult Colouring In trend? What kind of art do you like to do yourself?
13 thoughts on “Adult Colouring In & Art”
We all have gifts and challenges; I get so tired of teachers(even now!) telling students either that ANYONE or everyone can do it or that you are hopeless at it. Some things we could work hard at forever and still not be decent. Other skills come naturally to us, whereas a bunch of them in between we have to work at.There are talents that I know I have and art isn’t one of them. I’m musical, but I can’t draw either.
Even though I can’t draw I can still make some pretty awesome art that I’ve put up on my own walls and given to other people. :) I think the art teacher is partly right but mostly wrong. Not everyone can draw, though with time and practice one can get better at it – but a lack of drawing talent does not = not good at art – because there are so many different forms of art that exist.
I’ve become decent at painting within the lines and there are so many stencils out there I can use.. :) I’m thinking to use the a lizard stencil as a stepping stone to making another dot painting next.
She really did me a favour though, sending me to t2, because I got to spend a lot of time with the deputy principal there and he was an amazing person. :)
Your story is both interesting and sad. You had the misfortune to come up against teachers who were possibly good at their subjects but incompetent as teachers and, for unusual cases like yours, downright damaging. They have stunted one part of your educational development, that part that has now started to regrow. I wish you luck with it and joy of it.
I am not competent to say whether it is true that everybody can learn to draw but I suspect it isn’t. I incline to believe that drawing is like other inborn skills, that is, you can cultivate it if it is there but not create it out of nothing. When I was at school, neat handwriting was at a premium. Good handwriting was rewarded and bad handwriting penalized. I could NOT write neatly and I still cannot. I was always getting into trouble over my writing, no matter how hard I tried. I think my writing is your drawing and that is why I sympathize with you in your frustration which I know only too well.
The world has changed and art is now much freer now than it used to be. You inner artist can now be released to follow her own unique path.
What a lovely comment, Silvertiger. :)
I struggle with handwriting too – I find if I have the right kind of pen, I can write a card pretty well. And I mean a lot of writing in the card, I don’t do dear X, love Y, I use blank cards and cover most of the inside. I also find different pens result in entirely different hand writing.
The better the ink flow, the better my writing will be.
I also do not hold my pen the “right” way and got into lots of trouble for that in school, so I know what you mean.. it was not fun to have a teacher constantly critique how I was holding my pen. I was holding it, and writing with it, surely that was all that mattered! ;)
1. that teacher shouldn’t have had that job. It’s wrong to assume everyone can draw and insist upon it.
2. forget 2, I’m not sure how to say it.
Absolutely agree with you re 1. :) I kinda like 2! ;)
P.S. I’ve never met a teacher who insisted on correct pen holding technique. As long as we were writing, they didn’t care how we held the pens.
I think I must have just had a run of bad teachers for most of my school life. I never really had one teacher who made me interested in learning more, mostly they were telling me off instead, which irritated me. :)
I grew up in a family of artistic people. Except me. And I tried. Mom tried to teach me different techniques and, like you, what I saw in my head would never make it to the page or plate or wood or whatever. I loved art but I stopped taking it when I got to junior high because I knew I wasn’t any good.
By the way, I like the idea behind your teacher who thought anyone could draw – but I am not sure anyone can. Most can probably achieve something recognizable but not everyone. Why beat up on those who really can’t and make it even harder on them? You wouldn’t claim that anyone can sing.
Fast forward. As an adult, I started the Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain book/program. I discovered I actually can draw. It’s slow and tedious and I don’t enjoy it at all. It’s work. Now part of me knows it takes others time and patience and a lot of practice but it isn’t something I apparently want badly enough.
And then I think, maybe I’m just lazy. I also want to learn mySQL and I got bored out of my mind learning basic database design. I’m not sure I enjoy learning new things as much as I used to. And some things, you’re better off learning young.
But, I’m glad you found a way to express your inner artist.
I have some very tone deaf friends, it was one reason why I got a loud car stereo in my youth :)
I hope you find a way to express your inner artist at some point. I think it is never too late to give it a go. Ceramics was probably my favourite but it is $$$ here, and there isn’t anywhere close to do it.. second is painting which I find very soothing internally.. there seems to be a lot of art therapy value in painting for me.
I love to be creative but it has taken me years to get over the fact that my ‘creative’ may not be the same as everyone else’s! I started ‘doodling’ last year and like many things it fell by the way side but started again the other night – determined to enjoy it and not be so hard on myself!
Hey Lisa, doodling I can do. I make some really awesome triangles. I really should make a triangle painting soon! ;)
Thanks for dropping by my place. :) I’m checking out yours now..