Sunday, September 20, 2009

Give Me an 'I - F - A - W- T- E -A - Y - A' Day

I teach English to a young and very motivated El Salvadoran who early on told me how much she enjoyed painting. I encouraged her to think of ways she alone and the two of us together could use art to help her learn to read and write.

Recently, Ana surprised me at the end of a lesson by presenting me with an unusual and special gift: two rocks that she had brought back from a week-end rafting trip and then hand-painted on both sides. On one stone Ana had painted butterflies; as each side is different, one red and one purple, with the respective butterflies in complementary colors, I can turn this rock over every other day and enjoy a new piece of art. On the other and larger rock, which was rather hefty, my student had created a swirl of colors in heavily applied paint to which she'd added in a few areas green metallic flakes. The rock looked to me like a kind of map, the swirls like shibori, maybe the river of white water on which she'd journeyed, and the green flakes offered the merest suggestion of the forest where she'd camped. What Ana had described in her writing assignment she had made manifest in her rock paintings.

I was delighted to receive this gift that was of the elements and created with heart.

Tomorrow, September 21, is "International Find a Way to Encourage a Young Artist Day". I'll be offering Ana a lesson a little out of the ordinary.

What do you intend to do to encourage the young artist(s) in your life?

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