Note: I am participating in a seven-day blogging challenge,
called the Write Tribe Festival of Words. Write Tribe is an online community of
bloggers that “urges you to write bravely.” The day five prompt is to
write a letter to someone. I’ve chosen to write a letter to all of my art
teachers over the years.
Dear Art Teachers,
You have given me a gift beyond measure. I always thought that art was about paint and color and paper and canvas. You taught me that those were only tools, that art was about seeing the world. You taught me to look at the beauty of the world and the beauty of humans.
When I was in junior high school, bullies told me that I was ugly, and I believed them. I looked in the mirror and saw ugly. As an adult, I had lessons in painting human faces. I learned about the shape of the face and where to place the eyes, nose, and mouth. I learned about how to make hair look like hair and how to give eyes the illusion of life, even though a painting of a human is two dimensional and people are three dimensional.
After I had lessons in painting faces, I saw faces in a totally new way. I rode on the bus and on the subway and I looked at faces. Each one was unique. Each person had an attractive face in his or her own way. I saw faces, not as “ugly,” but as fascinating, with at least one feature that could be considered beautiful. I wanted to paint everyone’s portrait. It was then that I realized that no one is ugly. Every face has a story to tell about a life that has been lived. There is beauty in all faces. When I realized that there was beauty in all faces, I knew that I couldn’t possibly be ugly, either. I looked in the mirror and I saw features that were uniquely me, not ugly, just me.
You taught me to see the shapes and colors in buildings and rivers and trees. You taught me to frame my picture to make the picture a vibrant reproduction of reality. In short, you taught me to see.
Thank you so much for giving me the gift of color, shape, and, most of all, sight. My world is much more vibrant because of my art teachers.