Anyone who knows me fairly well or who has known me since high school might be surprised by the title of this post. These people are oh-so aware of the fact that I definitely did not like my high school art teacher. We got along alright and I bit my tongue a bunch and went home and bitched and moaned about him but deep down inside a fiery passion of distaste was … well, none of that is important.A completely unrelated image of a pair or sparkly shoes I wore almost everyday the last two years of high school.
Now just in case anyone who knows the sordid details of this story, which for the most part I won’t be sharing here, happens to be reading this, I am referring to my senior year of high school, not junior year.
Okay, back to my story.
There was one truly valuable thing I learned from this teacher of mine who I so dearly didn’t like. And by “like” I mean a variety of things but mostly just what I said – I didn’t like him, I didn’t feel like I could trust him, I didn’t get the warm and fuzzies from him, he wasn’t the kind of teacher you could come in 35 minutes late from lunch and go to to get a pass to your next class. He just wasn’t. It’s fine, he took everything super seriously and I was just a senior who wanted to be done with this shit.
Again, back to my story – the ONLY valuable thing I learned from this teacher was this:
Stop looking at it like it’s finished.
“It” refers to whatever project you are working on. And this is what he would say to us when someone was fretting about a drawing or print or some other art form they were engaged in and was totally melting over the fact that it just didn’t look good at a certain point in it’s progress.
This little phrase still floats around my head – in my mind, his voice is exaggerated and annoying and that is how i hear it – but it’s a good reminder.
I am assuming it happens to everyone – I feel like I have the authority to do that as I’ve been through four years of art school and was surrounded by student artists working on things enough to see people get frustrated before they even reached the middle point of something – myself included.
Stop looking at it like it’s finished. Keep going.
You might not like it now, but it’s not done – it’s going to look completely different when you reach a stopping point.
I know for me, I often feel like my colors are all messed up and don’t go well together half way or sooner through an embroidery – but then, sort of begrudgingly – I think to myself “it’s not finished, keep going” just like Mr.You-Know-Who used to say. Of course though, the way I hear it in my head is in the annoying, tiny, shrill voice I have spent many years convincing myself he sounded as such. I mean, that’s what I heard.
And so I keep going, because I have seen the end result of projects that people didn’t want to finish, my own included, and they turned out just as lovely as the ones people loved all the way through. I also trust myself to put together a decent color way. And so I keep going – even if I think it’s a lost cause, I keep going.
Sometimes – yes, it is a lost cause. But you may end up ditching something that could’ve turned out great because you didn’t even try to finish it.
And that’s just dumb.
So listen to your (or mine if you don’t have one) high school art teacher and stop looking at it like it’s finished.
I really never thought the day would come that I’d give this guy credit for anything. So… yeah… check that off the list of things to reconcile before I die…
More Empowerment can be found here: Yup, right here.