Monday, January 31, 2011

Listen To Your Teacher

 To paint a rose correctly, is tricky, almost impossible but if you remember the center is darker than the outside layers, it can be done. Mine will not look like yours and yours probably won't look like mine, but it is still a rose. I remember this from Alberta Fensky. Her class was filled with roughly twelve women on an evening in November of 1992. Alberta talked out of the side of her mouth and one of her eyes squinted almost shut when she talked. I never saw her with a cigarette but maybe she kept them in the car next to the stuffed fake man she kept in the front seat so that nobody would bother her on her way home.

 She didn't like students coming late to class. I painted flowers at my house with whatever brushes I had on hand and even used Q-tips. Alberta had a list of brushes with numbers, so precise, I was going to learn much! Thirty or so minutes into the class, Barbara, another student who had shown her work in galleries raised her hand and before Alberta could call on her said, "this is not the way to paint a rose! You should start with a flat brush." That started a small chain reaction of negative comments from the other students. Without blinking an eye, Alberta calmly wobbled to the front of the room, slammed a book on the table and said, "this is the Fensky way and I am your teacher, Alberta Fensky! Thank you for taking my class."

 I still don't know how to paint a rose like hers, but I know how to respect other people's positions. There are times to be a student and times to be the teacher.


  1. Isn't that just the way it is! No matter who or what you're trying to teach, everyone interrupts and professes to know ten times more than you. That is unless you start to teach calculus, or quantum physics, and then they just walk away!

  2. William, please log off my account so that the comment is yours! I always stay in the room while you go on and on and on and on about quantum physics! (it gives me time to plan things in my head) ;)