Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The JOYS of Mentoring

Middle of November I received a rather odd phone call message. My husband had taken it, and when giving the message to me mentioned, the young was very "wary" about giving out any information. When I returned the call, it was an Ashland Student who's class had an upcoming project.

It required each student to find an artist who would mentor them for a period of 40 hours, culminating in early February. The student was to complete a project in their chosen medium that would also benefit or include a "service" aspect. I was blushingly thrilled!! Of course, I accepted and have been meeting 2 nights a week, for a total of 5 hours weekly putting together this project.

First we have been adding to her repertoire of skills since most of her school experience was using watercolor rather loosely. I had her work on this little painting that combines wet-into-wet washes (the sky), aerial perspective (different planes of foreground, mid-ground and background), light source and some color balance. She's including some frisquet and wax crayon for resist. Both of us were very pleased with her first exercise.

One of her favorite watercolor subject matter is flowers. I'd seen her portfolio and she does them well, but could really make the floral glow if she incorporated more glazing. So our second project went on to "glazing" techniques. Here she is referencing the partial demo I'd done for her while she works on her own piece. I'm also having her use my palette and some of my brushes to give her a taste of different materials and different qualities. She's been very diligent and dedicated to finishing projects and I've been so impressed with the quality of her finished work. I can't wait to see how her completed projects comes out.
Since her focus for the "service" aspect will be around the forests, she has begun designing a fascinating piece (I'll keep secret for the completed debut). Here she's started with some reference photos and is sketching up her first designs. I've gained so much introspect into the children's world of 2009 and gained immense respect for this dear girl and she travels through her life.

Having no children and few interactions with kids, it's been very sweetly revealed how much I've missed not having children and how much I relish this growing relationship. I've had the pleasure of meeting both her mom and dad, and even the older brother. To my sheer joy, last night I attended the local school's Christmas Play, featuring my new friend. It was just amazing, the talent, the props, the acting abilities (and the quality with which characters were performed) and the enthusiastic rejoicing after this first presentation.

Can you sense how much I am enjoying this special gift to my "plate"? It may be time consuming, but the wealth of experience I've gained and look forward to ~ ~ are immense. So sometimes when you think your plate is too full, just be open to the gift that may be waiting on your doorstep. Again, I urge you ~ ~ take that leap!


Nancy Van Blaricom said...

I am so thrilled to hear all the details of your teaching. What joy I am reading in your post. Congratulation's Elaine. Your work is beautiful and should be shared with others.

Oma3 said...

What a lovely experience, Elaine, she is fortunate to have found you.

Peggi Habets said...

Wonderful experience I'm sure. Being on the other end of a mentor/protegee relationship, I can tell you how much your input and time will mean to her. She is very lucky to have you. Good luck.

Best wishes for the new year, Elaine. I look forward another year of comraderie!