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Assisting the teaching of the teaching assistant

Whilst at a birthday party celebration at the weekend I bumped into the wife of the birthday boy as I was coming out of the ladies toilet as she was on her way in and started chatting as women do about whatever they feel is important at the sight of each other. It turned out she wanted to talk about the view she has from the window of the caravan they have which is near to a beach. She told me that as she and her husband were looking out of the window recently she had told him “If Jackie was here, she’d paint that view, the horses in the field, and the sea beyond and the sky” and I smiled at her and said “Yes I would, but in that painting would be the focal point, so you’d know that you were supposed to be looking at the horses, or the sea, or the sky” and her eyes widened at that thought and she told me that as a teaching assistant she has to help teach the school kids art but since she isn’t artistic she didn’t always know whBreath of fresh airat to tell them. I said that a picture should always have the little technical details in it that meant that the viewer knew exactly what to look at because you had TOLD them in the picture, since you couldn’t stand behind them to tell them, the painting itself told them. Her eyes widened again, and I explained that if for instance there was a figure in the painting in a garden, then the path would wind around to the figure, the branches of a tree might lean slightly towards the figure, or the clouds might gently point towards the focal point. Its all done very subtly but it makes the picture look good. You should know exactly what the focal point is from the strength of the tones, and contrast of colours, and the compostion. She smiled widely at me and told me that she couldn’t wait to get back to school now after the half term holiday as she was all fired up with the information I had given her and excitedly wanted to pass it on to the school kids! And as we parted, I turned back to her and said “Oh, and it doesn’t matter what you paint – landscape, figure, still life or animal, abstract, fantasty or realistic, in monochrome or bright colours, the rules for a good painting are still the same!”.  When I got back to my fella in the main room he looked askance as to why I had taken so long at the loo and I grinned and said “I’ve been giving art lessons!” and explained who I’d been chatting to. Vicariously teaching the kids art it seems 🙂

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