If you have been with me for a while, you already know that I am really passionate about helping beginners to be confident enough to create - any type of art, let it be a drawing, a watercolor illustration or a digital piece.
In my teaching methodology I explicitly pay attention to build up a project from the simplest steps, because I know that those are the most important ones. Beginners can be so lost that they DO need a holding hand - starting from even how to draw lines. Sometimes explaining the most evident step might give one the essence that makes him confident enough to let his creativity out.
It is all about confidence. Everything is about confidence. And what is confidence? In my opinion it is a way of self love. If I love myself, forgive myself my mistakes and let myself justify myself and not wait for others to justify me, I will blossom. And this is what I want to give and show to you. That you CAN blossom.
Back, when I was teaching in an elementary school, I was given the opportunity to join the community of European teachers in the eTwinning program. In eTwinning teachers can create international projects with their students and somehow give deeper sense and practical environment to the curriculum that they are carrying out on their lessons. eTwinning also offers face-to-face events for teacher's professional development which is also an incredible thing as teachers from rural areas can get the gust of what being open minded means.
After some very successful projects with my students I decided to join the eTwinning team and became an ambassador. This means I am getting teachers in my area to join the program, I'm helping them with their projects and share the idea of "we are in this together, so let's make it fun".
So, yes. Apart from being a full-time mother, housekeeper, entrepreneur, online educator and artist, I am also a teacher trainer. I hold trainings for teachers to show them how the eTwinning program works, how to build up an international collaborative project, but most importantly I try to take my mission to a higher level and that is helping beginners before they become beginners.
What that means? Kids are natural artists. Every kid draws. Every kid paints. And where this goes? It is pushed out from the curriculum by force to give more space to more important subjects like nuclear atom physics and DNA regeneration at second grade. Art is made unimportant. Teachers make you feel like doing art needs talent or extraordinary superpowers....and of course....you cannot make a living as an artist so why would you (and the school) waste time on it? So people let it go and then rediscover it after years of suppressing - and that is when they become beginners.
My mission is to reach kids through educating teachers on how they can implement art into their daily teaching practice even on different subjects, like Science. I want teachers to appreciate the artist in the kids, so that they don't need to become "beginners" after doing years what society wants while they are suppressing their passion. I want kids to be able to use art to learn things. I want kids to feel that doing art is normal. To get the opportunity for the artist inside them to get out and create. We are all meant to create.
So why was I in Riga?
I attended an international conference for teachers about Practical Art and Cartooning for Beginners - which might sound silly for an artist to attend, but I was actually learning a lot about how teachers in other countries see the position of Art in the educational system. I will be giving a speech and a practical workshop about "Art as a Teaching Tool" in Bratislava, Slovakia on the 11th of October. I am really excited as I imagine the path of my passion for art that might reach a kid somewhere in Europe. If only ONE teacher will be inspired and will use art in a lesson as a teaching tool, or at least will just use one creative task on a lesson, or just will not bully a kid for drawing into his exercise book instead of writing equations and make him feel useless - I fulfilled my mission.
If YOU, my Dear Reader, would love to share YOUR story about your artistic path, teachers and schools (not) caring about your passion, breaking up and reconnecting with it, share it with me! (In a comment or a personal message - I really love to hear about these stories!)
Thank you for reading.