watercolor by Rosa Phoenix
"Love is, above all, the gift of oneself."
- Jean Anouilh
A few months ago, in the Fall of 2012, I partnered with the City of Phoenix, Arizona to teach free and low-cost art classes at senior centers.
My first experience teaching, it is the most wonderful collaboration.
Most of my students are beginners. Many have physical disabilities, or are recovering from illness, injury, trauma and grief.
They come to class with an open mind and heart.
They are shy and embarrassed, because they don't yet know how to draw or paint.
They are drawn to my classroom because something in them wants to create, express the beauty around them and within them, and to learn the skill of the artist.
They know instinctively, that creative expression is their birthright as humans.
"We can do better than I can."
- Lykke Li
I think the highest form of creativity is collaboration.
The spark of energy exchange that happens when two or three or more share their ideas, is so much greater than what one person can accomplish alone.
That's why I love teaching so much.
To be able to share my love of art, and to teach people the skills to create their own works of art, makes my heart happy.
My students greet me shyly and say, "I can't draw," or "I can't paint."
Within half an hour, they are happily drawing or painting, and watching themselves do it with amazement.
Their sense of sight, and their observation skills awaken.
Suddenly, they are looking around them at their familiar world, now rich with colors, shapes and shadows that they had never noticed before. "It's beautiful!" they say.
Their ordinary world becomes an extraordinary world, because they now have an artist's vision.
by Rosa Phoenix
Wouldn't it be wonderful, if we could live this way every day?
We can . . .
. . . be the student, with open mind and open heart, willing to learn, willing to improve, aspiring to a higher expression . . .
. . . be the teacher, willing to share the skills and knowledge with others . . .
In my daily work, I do both, teaching and learning, sharing and collaborating.
My students continually inspire me with their dedication and motivation. They inspire me because they make so many contributions themselves: volunteering, teaching and giving, with all their hearts.
We share our best selves with each other. Let's keep doing this, and uplift the world.