Validation for an artist may take many forms-getting a gallery show, winning an award, selling work and cultivating collectors, and just being able to complete the work that comes across the studio table. For a teacher of artists, validation comes as testimony from your students that they are integrating what you have taught them to develop their own style for their own purposes. And hopefully, they also learn to treat themselves with the kindness and patience that a friend would show and give themselves permission to “mess up”. I recently received an e-mail from Cielo Sand, a skilled photographer who attended several six-week sessions of my Experimental Acrylic classes to develop painting skills for enhancing her digital designs.
In part, Cielo writes, ” I think of you often and visit your website frequently. Studying your paintings, so well presented on your site, is a teaching tool. I am painting nearly every day. Yes, it has gotten under my skin…Painting keeps my spirit high and brings great joy to my life now. I am consumed with delightful mental strategizing about where to go next with a painting. Finally I am no longer afraid. You must know this is big. I finally feel free to experiment and to play, and am learning patience and forgiveness when the next step is not what I was hoping for. I am beginning to trust that in joining with the painting and listening to where it wants to go, that eventually the puzzle will fall into place (no rush). You, my friend, have been and will continue to be a faithful, gifted guide…I’ll be back for another class someday soon. I’m grateful for your inspiring and generous spirit, Sandy.”
When I read her words, I was filled with joy and exhilaration at Cielo’s persistence and her breakthroughs, so well expressed in her writing. And as a teacher, I felt validated!