La Siesta, by P. Picasso
All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.
One of the more frustrating aspects of teaching school is being party to a system that drives the joy out of learning for probably nine out of ten students. By the time students get to high school, they have had their “skills drilled” and their “proficiencies assessed” so often it’s no wonder they finish out their secondary education in a cynical haze so thick that neither my most inspired lessons nor my most intimidating deathstare can penetrate it.
In American classrooms today, there is so little opportunity for personal expression and genuine exploration it is almost laughable.
Except it’s not. It’s tragic.
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It’s a pleasure to discover beautiful little gems hidden in unexpected places. I think gardeners are especially adept at this –we notice the rustle of wind through winter grass, the pattern of frost on a leaf, the first crocus pushing through the snow . These tiny delights of the natural world are not lost on us.
If you pay attention, you can find such gems in books, too — even when they’re not intentional. A few years ago, when I was taking my first landscape design class at GWU and trying to practice drawing, I came across an intriguing discussion of color in Betty Edwards’ classic Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain. Color is certainly a fundamental aspect of garden design, and of art in general, but I had never really thought about color in the way that Edwards’ presented it. Word-Nerd that I am, I decided to turn the passage into a “Found Poem” — which I hereby present for your enjoyment, or possibly your amused pity. A scan of the original text follows.
When the Sun Goes Down Color Disappears
And what is
Is it merely — as scientists tell us —
a subjective experience
a mental sensation
that can occur only if there is
an object and
in the narrow band of wavelengths called the
v i s i b l e s p e c t r u m
Is the world really
only seeming to become full of color again when we turn
the lights on?
know. What we do
when the sun goes down