A teacher for five days:
This Summer I had the pleasure to teach and exhibit around the city of Fethiye, Turkey. For five days I went around five schools and each day of teaching was different. I had never taught before in my life but it turned out to be a truly great and memorable experience.
I taught mainly seven to twelve year olds. My aim was to teach the kids different ways to draw and paint. But I am no Rembrandt or Leonardo da Vinci. So I wouldn’t say I was teaching them “how” to draw and paint but instead, how to do it in multiple ways. I wanted them to forget the rules and introduce them to being spontaneous when applying line and colour. Like me in my art practice, it’s all about imagination and impulse. My intention was to open up the kids creative minds and make them realise that there are many ways to see and depict. To me, Art is all about diversity, everyone’s got their own unique way of seeing and interpreting.
Overall, my time teaching at the schools was an absolute joy and I met a wonderful bunch of kids who immediately made me feel so welcome. The thing I noticed about them all was that they loved someone, (myself), an absolute stranger from Scotland, coming into their classroom and suddenly giving them new insights and ideas on how to approach art. Their reaction to my way of teaching painting and drawing was a amazing. The week ended with a colourful collection of artwork.
Painting with an audience
My second last day in Fethiye involved me doing a Live performance. Firstly to say, before I flew out to Turkey, the art committee of the festival contacted me and told me I was to create a painting by the end of my teaching week. It was to raise money for charities supporting polio vaccinations. Well it was only Saturday, (the day of the live performance) when they told me I was doing it outside in the centre of Fethiye.......with an audience.
They very kindly supplied me with the art materials I needed. I arrived around 11AM at the town square, a few minutes before it started and double checked that I had mostly everything I asked for. I stood there ready to paint with a 70x90cm canvas, a few painting brushes, two print rollers, five tubes of different coloured paint and a medium size table to paint on. I only had 3 hours to complete the painting........ which at that time sounded impossible but I rolled up my sleeves and began to paint.
For a brief moment I was shaking like a leaf as kids from the schools came and stood around me, watching every move I made. But after five minutes I started to relax and I told myself, "its just another day in the studio painting". During the first hour I mostly interacted with the kids and adults. I described what I was doing and why I was doing it. Luckily I had a translator with me throughout, which helped when I got asked questions.
3 hours and 45 minutes later, I was done! I had never been so exhausted but happy with creating and finishing a painting. But most importantly, it was going to auction for charities supporting vaccination charities. Glad I was able to be a small part of it.
Thank you to all the kids at the schools and the art committee for inviting me and making me so welcome!