When my daughters were young we spent a lot of our holidays in the National Gallery. They used to (still do, in fact) have family holiday activities. We used to take the train to Charing Cross and then walk to the Education Centre where the workshops were held.
When everyone had gathered we were led into the Gallery. The workshop would start by all of us gathering in front of a particular painting which we would study for a bit. We would then go back to the Education Centre and using the painting as inspiration complete the activity. These workshops were led by resident artists.
On one such trip I was watching my daughters paint when the artist, Ansel Krut, came up to me, handed me a canvas and said I should have a go. I told him I didn’t think I would be able to do what he was expecting us to do. He handed me a brush and said that everyone can be taught to paint and proceeded to give me some tips and few instructions.
I sat down and started painting. I thought that after he had taken the trouble to explain what I needed to do, the least I could do was give it a go. I also thought it would be good for my children to see me attempt something I wasn’t very confident of doing well.
At the end of the workshop Ansel went around looking at what we all had done. When he saw my canvas, he was very complimentary and asked me if I was happy I had given it a go. I was. Still am. My canvas (picture below) occupies a prominent place at home now.
What made me think of this? Well, the Twitter debates about creativity and teacher instruction.
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