Fearful horses

So I made these knife rests for a friend who lives in Kentucky. I haven’t sent them yet even though they have been completed since last summer. Why? Because of fear. What if she doesn’t like them? I rarely share my work and every time someone buys one of my pieces I am surprised. So in honour of sharing and responsibility here they are.

So why the lack of confidence? I have had some wonderful art teachers, including one who has encouraged me ever since high school (many moons ago!) But I have also had some really bad ones whose criticism made me fearful of producing work for these teachers. And even though I have continued to produce art all my life, I have never considered myself an artist.

And this is why art education done well is so important. Confidence is such a fragile thing and so is the belief in one’s vision. I am sad when I see elementary teachers muck up art assignments by telling students what they want as product rather than just teaching the method and then allowing students to create. Done well, art, drama and physical movement can be incorporated into every area of the curriculum.

And this brings me back to Sue Waters’ blog about commenting. And while this is a cliche the old adage “If you don’t have anything nice to say don’t say anything at all,” really holds true. While many people have been blogging for a long time those of us who are new to the experience are still in that fragile, tentative stage of sharing and may be easily dissuaded from sharing by a negative experience. Feedback is crucial for growth to occur, but learning how to give feedback that is timely, reflective, positive and thought provoking is a skill that constantly needs to be developed and improved. So do I believe commenting counts? You betcha!