The question of giving every student different treatment and a varied set of tasks based on his/her personality has been haunting me for a while. Time and time again I see that inevitably one or two students in each class need a lot more time on each project than others. I feel awful hurrying them along, as typically these are the students who truly pay attention to details, are quite the perfectionists and want every one of their pieces to truly become a work of art. But then what do I do with the rest of the group? I can't constantly split up, on occasion into three separate corners - where each student is doing something different based on his/her skill set and interests. It makes me crazy, I'm feeling like my head is about to explode in all these different directions.

This painting has been attempting to give me answers to that question. I went into it with my typical expressive approach, covering the canvas at once with slashes of my favorite palette knife. It all somewhat worked, but all the elements seemed to lack their own personality. And it occurred to me that I can't treat the surface of the water in a completely identical way in which I'm handling the tree growth, or the clouds floating along. They each move in their separate way: trees reaching up, clouds circling along, water drifting in horizontal lines. I need to copy their movement with my lines, being mindful of each and every personality, so that it could be a valid form in the composition, so that all these actors can have a dialogue with each other.

And yet, these are all parts of one whole painting, and all these personalities have to coexist in it. Trees and sky reflect in the water, merging and balancing out colors, shapes and lines of the final piece. It's just like all people ultimately coexist in one society, somehow learning along the way their ways to cope with that society's demands. So then even though a conversation with each student can be slightly different - should my final goal be to teach them integration into their group? That would ultimately give them an important life lesson, correct?



Rays of Hope