Mrs. Bartholomew was the best art teacher throughout my elementary school years. Twice a week, we would file into her classroom, slide down the bench seats, and go for it with our markers and pens and paints and whatever strange creation she had us working on. She had wildly curly hair, and I heard rumors as a second grader that she liked to ride a Harley Davidson on the weekends.
There was also a lady down the street from me with daughters my age who taught after-school art classes in her studio. I distinctly remember her home being filled with painted gourds, her Dansko clogs being all paint splattered, and her hair being rather out of control as well.
For the past year, I have been the elementary school art teacher here in Port Alsworth, most of the time on a volunteer basis. I’m thinking I don’t have much of it down, and I spend a whole lot of time playing the “fake it till you make it” game, but I DO have the wild hair down…which by my own definition is what a “real” art teacher needs.
There have been several ladies in the online realm who have been art teachers to me, even as I learn to be an art teacher to others. These are women that I truly wish I could sit with in person, rather than just via their blogs or DVDs or short videos. A lot of my art journal pages have come from techniques I have learned on their blogs, or colors I saw on their websites or projects they suggested trying. There is so much to still learn, but this is a starting place.
Julie Fei-Fan Balzer — Probably the most influential of the online art teachers I’ve had since day 1. I love her mess-making skills, her bright colors, and encouragements to experiment. She says wonderful things like “You are the boss of your stencils, they are not the boss of you!” and “I love gel medium so much I’d drink it if it wasn’t bad for you.” Anyway, I’ve got about 4 other classes of hers lined up online that I very much want to take, and when I read her blog, I feel both inspired and like I have a million miles I could still grow.
Tamy Garcia of Daisy Yellow Art— She is honest and profound in the way she talks about art journaling. She does incorporate a lot of her inner thoughts into her work, and asks a lot of the difficult questions. I think the best teachers I’ve ever had, elementary school through college, were the ones who knew how to ask the right questions that would get me thinking. She’s that kind of woman. I also love how she makes her blog a place of community rather than just her talking all the time. She encourages people to take part in making their own art and sharing it. I love that. I want to do that.
Juliette Crane— I first stumbled upon her work in a Somerset Studio magazine, and thought, oh. Yes. I read about her and the one word that she kept using was “whimsy”. Yes. I have one of her books, and would very much like to take one of her classes. She teaches art and makes art because it’s good for the soul, not because it’s a great career. She does it because it fits.
There are others, perhaps I will share them another time. These three are enough to us busy for quite some time.
Next up… How to get started art journaling!