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e s s a y s

The Eliptical, Orbital path of Lessons

     Think of human creativity as the gravitational force at the center of our being. Just like all matter has mass, and thus exerts gravitational force on other matter, so do we both metaphorically and physically effect the  world around us . This may seem like a dramatic or exaggerated statement, but such language serves to direct our way of living towards developing our greatest, fullest potentials as conscious, creative beings. Ultimately focusing on this perspective allows us to see ourselves as more than just participants in the grand scheme of things. Rather, we are inherently influential. After all, nature evolves by repeating what works and dumping what doesn’t. Why should we be any different than the world we observe around us?  We see parallel development of structures in diverse natural systems because they work. As infinite as galaxies of solar systems that orbit the gravitational energy of the mass of suns, and as intimate as the structure of atoms with their nucleus center and orbiting electrons, we that have mass possess gravitational force. That is, by simply being, we have the power to impact our world around us. Add to this consciousness and you will find art at the metaphorical and literal center of human experience.

     It is so important to acknowledge this creative center, because this is the place that our ingenuitive self lay. We believe the ingenuitive self to be transcendent, original thoughts and creations and ideas manifesting in ways that are vital to the uplift of our civilization.  We often hear of the ingenuity of great discoveries or individuals, but we fail to give this quality an inherent birth right in every person.  Our lessons are structured to be governed by, and ultimately expose, this ingenuitive place in each individual, with a sincere belief that this is the way our society as a whole will ultimately be uplifted.

     We do this by structuring our lessons around the ingenuitive self much like the elliptical orbit of planets around a sun. The beginning lessons are broad sweeping orbits that span the expansive edges of a students relationship to art.  They serve to expose the basic principles of each media so that students can immediately feel empowered and successful as artist. These lessons serve to show that art is not hard, and is accessible to everyone. Of course, this is a simplistic statement and ultimately each artist will discover that art can be the hardest thing in the world to deeply pursue. But up front, it is about inclusiveness. It is about showing art can be learned, and is not the realm of a few talented individuals. These lessons are really about empowerment and trust. That each student feels capable of doing great

things while keeping an eye on their ingenuitive center.

      In these first lessons, most of the emphasis is on techniques in realism, which is why we say they are furthest out from the ingenuitive center. They are founded in recreating the world around us. They are the first lessons for many reasons. Most people only believe they are good artists if they can do realism. So the lessons teach confidence. Also, realism informs us about our world. It is a way of starting with eyes wide open, with a willingness to explore every part of what we see and experience. In Painting, the focus is on learning blending techniques that create depth, space, and the three dimensionality of forms.  In drawing the focus is on learning how to really see what things look like while developing skills to effectively recreate them. In sculpture we teach how to recognize and recreate the basic forms that make up any and all objects. You can see how all encompassing these three approaches are; how students would immediately feel free to explore their own ideas within these lessons. It is vital for the teacher’s to keep all eyes on the ingenuitive center and remind each and every student to be striving for that creative place. Ultimatly, we believe the greatest art lay beyond simply observing and making, but embodying ideas and emotions and expressions and originality. It sometimes takes a while to reach it, and sometimes is right there in a flash of inspiration. This is why we think of the lessons as an elliptical orbit. Even though they are initially broad reaching, there are moments of inspiration throughout the process when students get a little bit closer to the pull of the gravitational, ingenuitive center. Keeping a lookout for these very real experiences is the most optimistic and nurturing presence a teacher can provide. Likewise, student artists much learn from the beginning to look for it in themselves.

     During these beginning lessons students receive intensive and supportive instruction to insure that they really experience the success of the techniques and learn trust the process of learning art rather that grasping at the mirage of that ever mysterious thing called talent.  As students see that lessons indeed teach “magical” skills, they begin to trust the process and can work more independently. As Students become familiar with art techniques taught in the lessons they come to understand that there is no such thing as a mistake. One of the greatest misconceptions people hold about art is that creating a successful project is a linear experience. The lessons teach that it is really an explorative journey where mistakes are really surprises that lead to great things. That creativity is largely a problem solving experience. One of the most liberating part of art is learning that mistakes are absolutely apart of the process of creating. They are nothing less than oopsertunities to adjust

direction. Problems are no longer hindrances, but necessary steps towards success. When students get to this point they can work largely independently, as long as they are equipped with the problem solving skills developed in earlier lessons. This natural progression frees up the teacher to spend more time with beginners.

     As students become more adept in their technical and problem solving skills the orbital path of the lessons get tighter and more refined, closer to the ingenuitive center.  Once students master skills in realism taught in the earliest lessons they are encouraged to explore the many art movements that dramatically changed the way we as a culture see the world like abstraction, surrealism, cubism, and modernism. As students work within these contexts to refine their skills and their ideas, the lessons serve to show all the ways art has been done before so that the ingenuitive self can take a step beyond.  We tell the students that we are teaching them all the rules so that someday they will break them and create new ways of seeing and experiencing the world that have never been seen before.  Ultimately it is our goal to see our students surpass and expand upon societies collective consciousness.  Just like our earths orbit is ultimately getting closer and closer to the pull of the sun, the experience of developing as an artist is very much a spiral. This journey conjures up images of the golden mean; another universal structure that nature employs in so many effective incarnations.  A spiral growth passes by its past. A spiral reflects and resembles what has come before, but always finds itself in new places.  A spiral possesses great structural strength and is able to reach infinitely outward and inward.